Tayside and Central Scotland

Baby Nevaeh Stewart's chances 'would have been better in hospital'

Montrose Royal Infirmary Image copyright Google
Image caption Nevaeh Stewart died three-and-a-half hours after she was born at Montrose Royal Infirmary's community midwife unit

A doctor has told an inquiry into the death of a newborn girl at a midwife-led unit that she would have had a greater chance of surviving if she had been born in a hospital.

Nevaeh Stewart died three-and-a-half hours after she was born at Montrose Royal Infirmary's community midwife unit in September 2012.

The baby's father described the unit as an "emergency response blackspot".

The inquiry is being held at Forfar Sheriff Court.

Nevaeh's mother Kimberley Stewart went to the unit after going into labour at her home in Auchenblae, Aberdeenshire, on 29 September and gave birth the following morning.

The fatal accident inquiry heard evidence from paediatrician Dr Nicholas Connolly, who was part of the neo-natal transfer team dispatched from Dundee's Ninewells Hospital.

He said his team had arrived at the Montrose unit at about 07:15 and performed CPR and administered drugs in an attempt to save Nevaeh's life.

'Deterioration was unusual'

Dr Connolly described Nevaeh's deterioration as "very, very unusual", as she had a good heart rate and was breathing on her own minutes after her birth.

Midwives earlier told the inquiry that despite her vital signs being good, Nevaeh remained "pale and floppy" until her death.

Dr Connolly said the team had battled to save Nevaeh but had brought in her parents when it became clear she would not survive.

Depute fiscal Nicola Ross asked him: "Is it possible to say whether she would have survived if she had been born in a hospital?"

Dr Connolly said: "No."

Ms Ross asked: "If you are a baby born in Nevaeh Stewart's condition, are your chances of survival greater at Montrose Royal Infirmary or at Ninewells Hospital?"

Dr Connolly replied: "I think they are greater at Ninewells because of access to specialist services."

The inquiry, before Sheriff Pino di Emidio, continues.

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