Northern Ireland

Causeway stillborn inquest: Mother 'should have been kept in hospital'

Michelle and Barry Rocks at Belfast Coroner's Court where an inquest for their still born daughter Cara is being held, 30 August 2016 Image copyright PA
Image caption Michelle Rocks, pictured with her husband Barry outside Belfast Coroner's Court on Tuesday, was categorised as low risk for a stillbirth

The mother of a stillborn baby left court in tears after a doctor accepted she should have been kept in hospital when she was 38-weeks pregnant.

Michelle Rocks' baby was in a sideways position but Dr Rachel O'Flaherty advised a junior colleague not to admit her, an inquest heard.

Dr O'Flaherty apologised to Mrs Rocks and her husband Barry.

Cara Rocks was stillborn at Coleraine's Causeway Hospital on 26 June 2013.

The inquest is the first in Northern Ireland to focus on a stillbirth.

Dr O'Flaherty said she could not recall why she had decided not to admit the patient on 5 June 2013.

"I don't know what information I was given at that time and I honestly can't remember the reasoning behind that decision," she said.

Image caption Baby Cara Rocks died at the Causeway Hospital in June 2013

When asked whether a Caesarean section would also have been offered, if it had been requested by Mrs Rocks at that time, Dr O'Flaherty said this would have been arranged.

Dr O'Flaherty first came into contact with Mrs Rocks at a hospital appointment when she was 36-weeks pregnant, Belfast Coroners Court heard on the third day of the hearing.

The doctor said that, in retrospect, she would have kept the patient in for observation.

Dr O'Flaherty apologised to Mr and Mrs Rocks and their family for the distress they have experienced.

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust has already admitted a number of mistakes played a part in the death of Cara Rocks.

These included wrongly categorising Michelle Rocks, who had a previous Caesarean section, as "low risk", incorrect recording of the baby's heart rate and delays in the decision to proceed to an emergency C-section because of time spent trying to locate a foetal heart beat.

The hearing continues.

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