Midwife's errors led to death of baby

A FORMER president of the Royal College of Midwives was found guilty of serious professional misconduct yesterday after she mishandled the delivery of a breech birth which left the baby girl dead and the mother collapsed and bleeding on the floor.

Caroline Flint, a pioneer of natural childbirth who founded the first private "birth centre", in south London, escaped with a caution after the disciplinary body, the UK Central Council for Nurses Midwives and Health Visitors, found she had failed to recognise maternal collapse in the third stage of labour and had failed to make adequate observations and keep adequate notes. Four other charges were rejected.

The verdict is a blow to the natural childbirth movement which believes that independent midwives promoting home births are under siege from a medical establishment driven by fear of litigation. Supporters of Ms Flint say Britain is moving to a culture in which the majority of women have some intervention in childbirth and that normal birth is becoming rare.

Sheila Kitzinger, the childbirth expert, said: "It has happened to a really superb midwife and in that way it is a blow. She is an example of what a midwife should be. But none of us are perfect."

The three-day hearing was told that when the baby's mother, Mrs A, went into labour on 7 November 1995, Ms Flint drove her to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where she spent three hours in a birthing pool. Although she asked Ms Flint repeatedly whether she should have a Caesarian because the baby was in the breech position she was reassured that everything was all right.

As Mrs A went into the second and third stages of labour a doctor came in but Ms Flint sent him away, saying he was not needed yet. When the delivery came it was very quick and the baby was whisked away for resuscitation.

Mrs A, herself a midwife, told the hearing: "Nobody said anything for a while. I expected somebody to say `It's a boy' or `It's a girl' but nobody said anything. More and more people came in and I had the sense that something was not right. I got quite hysterical and said "Don't let my baby die'. A senior paediatrician said they had done everything they could."

The mother lay collapsed on the floor and required surgical removal of the placenta and was given a blood transfusion.

A post-mortem examination on the child, posthumously named Alicia, found that she had been starved of oxygen between 12 and 24 hours before delivery. Mrs A said she had accepted the death and only questioned it after she had her second child, a boy who was also in the breech position, and was struck by the contrast in care from the doctors and nurses who attended her.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
Sport
football
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us