Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham baby flat deaths: Council 'not at fault'

Block of flats, twin babies, Jocelyn Bennett Image copyright Birmingham Mail
Image caption Paramedics were unable to access Pleck House when Jocelyn Bennett fell into a coma, after which her babies died

An inquiry into the death of two baby girls after paramedics struggled to gain access to a block of flats has found Birmingham City Council was not at fault.

Jocelyn Bennett was pregnant with twins when she called 999 from her home in Pleck House, Druids Heath, in October.

Shortly afterwards she fell into a coma. The babies were delivered prematurely but died six days later.

Emergency services had not been issued master keys to council buildings.

Paramedics and police who arrived at the scene could not get through the communal front door for half an hour.

Ms Bennett, 27, was 32 weeks pregnant when she called an ambulance because she was suffering severe pain.

But before she could let the paramedics into the building she lost consciousness and did not wake up until nearly three weeks later, by which time her daughters had died.

The review was conducted by the multi-agency Birmingham Community Safety Partnership.

It concluded there was "no evidence the council could reasonably have done anything more that would have changed the outcome of this tragic incident".

'Time is ticking'

Joe Bennett, Jocelyn's father, said: "It is ridiculous the emergency services have to wait for a member of the public [a resident] to let them in. They should have been given keys a long time ago.

"For the sake of the £1 a key costs, my daughter would be much healthier than she now is and she might not have been in a coma for 19 days.

"Medical staff said the babies might not have made it anyway, even if the ambulance had got there, because Joss had a big bleed. But what is so, so sad is she might have been able to see the girls alive."

Despite denying any responsibility for the babies' deaths, Birmingham City Council has admitted procedures were being examined and it was "exploring an improvement" so all emergency services will have keys which deactivate the communal door entry system, giving immediate access.

Mr Bennett welcomed the possibility: "When ambulance staff can't get in, time is ticking over all the time. Ticking away while people inside could be dying."

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