Newborn twins die after 999 crew unable to access tower block
Premature twins have died and their mother is in a coma six days after paramedics responding to a 999 call were unable to get into a tower block.
Jocelyn Bennett, who was 32 weeks pregnant, called an ambulance to her south Birmingham home because she was suffering severe pains.
Crews could not get an answer from anyone and had to call police.
Ms Bennett's twins were later delivered by emergency Caesarean in hospital, but were critically ill.
The family had the twin girls christened Rose and Melody before their deaths on Tuesday at Birmingham Women's Hospital.
Ms Bennett, 27, had suffered a placental abruption that caused severe haemorrhaging.
She lives on the third floor of Pleck House, Druids Heath, and was unable to answer the buzzer when paramedics arrived.
Crews were unable to get a response from other flats in the block.
Ms Bennett's father, Joe Bennett, said: "She had a massive bleed and she lost two litres of blood and her heart stopped for about 10 minutes."
He said the babies suffered brain damage through lack of oxygen.
His daughter had been so excited by the prospect of giving birth to twins she named them before they were born, Mr Bennett said.
He said the family had been left devastated by the loss of the sisters.
"Everyone's hearts have been ripped out," he said.
"We've been gasping for hope all the time, but today was the last day."
He said Ms Bennett remained in a coma and had received dialysis due to problems with her kidneys, but the family was hopeful she would recover.
Mr Bennett praised emergency services for their efforts to reach his daughter, but said the council had failed in its duty of care.
"If you can't get into these buildings how can emergency services save anybody?" he said.
Ms Bennett's partner Kevin Clarke was away with their three-year-old son at the time of the incident, said Mr Bennett.
- It is a rare but serious condition
- The placenta starts coming away from the inside of the womb wall before it is meant to
- This can cause the mother abdominal pain and some bleeding from the vagina, as well as risking the health of the baby
- The placenta is vital for relaying nutrients and oxygen to the unborn child
- The exact cause of placental abruption is unclear, but risk factors include high blood pressure and smoking
Source: BBC Health
West Midlands Ambulance Service said a rapid response vehicle arrived at the building at 05:51 GMT on 29 October, followed by two ambulances at 05:58 and 6:01 GMT respectively.
"Crews had difficulty getting into the building. They tried to contact all of the other flats within the block; all with no answer.
"The control room contacted the patient's parents and partner by telephone," a spokesman said.
"The ambulance service requested the help of police at 6.03am, 12 minutes after arrival. Police arrived at 6.10am and entry to the building was gained soon after."
A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said: "Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.
"We have systems to provide emergency access to our blocks for the emergency services and we are investigating what happened in this instance."