Shropshire Star

Midwife denies heart monitoring of a baby was not 'properly or competently done'

A midwife has denied claims that she did not properly monitor the heart of a baby that died less than 12 hours after being born.

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Princess Royal Hospital, Telford

Isabelle Greatholder, a midwife of four years, had been on the night shift at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford on April 10, 2021, the night Poppy Mary Isabella Russell was born.

The newborn would later die after suffering hypoxia - a lack of oxygen to the brain - during delivery.

At the inquest into the death at Shirehall in Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Ms Greatholder told the coroner that Poppy's mother, Kathryn Russell had been "non compliant".

She said she asked Mrs Russell if she could do a CTG (Cardiotocography) and explained the importance of the procedure to monitor the baby's heart, but the mother had "declined".

She told Shropshire Coroner John Ellery that she proceeded with heart monitoring using the non-continuous Intermittent Auscultation (IA), but that the non-compliance of Mrs Russell made the process difficult.

She said: "She [Mrs Russell] became increasingly distressed. I asked to take the foetal heart rate but she did not change position so I did not challenge her."

She said that she tried to get readings every 15 minutes but struggled to get accurate recordings or to do any readings at all.

It was eventually discovered that the baby's heart rate was low and Poppy later died after being born by emergency caesarian section.

A previous witness, Patrick Forbes, an independent obstetrician, had claimed that IA could not have been carried out "properly or competently" by staff without the baby's distress having being discovered earlier.

When quizzed by Mr Ellery on this claim, Ms Greatholder denied it and told the coroner that she attempted to ask Mrs Russell to change position to allow her better access to conduct the monitoring but that the expectant mother was "not willing to do so".

Asked by the coroner what a midwife does in a situation where a mother is being non compliant, she replied: "Do my best, sir. Try to get her to change position."

The inquest continues.

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