King George Hospital baby born in toilet

A first-time mother’s baby boy was born into a toilet in King George Hospital despite her desperate pleas for staff to help.

Health chiefs have pledged to improve maternity care after Bethany Kennedy, was left to scoop her son, Harrison, out of the water during the traumatic birth at the Barley Lane, Goodmayes hospital last year.

The youngster, who turned this last year, was fine but Bethany says her son could easily have died or been seriously hurt.

She claims she told staff shortly before that she felt ready to start pushing but they said it was too early and suggested she might need the toilet.

She said: “They said my cervix was not dilated enough and it was my first birth so I still had a while to go. I asked if maybe I needed the loo and they said yes.”

When she got to the toilet Bethany felt the baby coming out and put her hand between her legs.

She said: “I could feel his head and started screaming and screaming for the nurses to come. The toilet is opposite the nurses station and the door was open so they would have heard. But none of the staff came. They didn’t seem to believe I was giving birth.”

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Miss Kennedy, of Dagenham, says her now ex-partner heard her calls and came to help.

“It was then that Harrison dropped out of me and straight into the toilet. His head had even gone under the U-bend of the bowl. We scooped him out and he was blue and not crying. I was sure he was going to die. Finally a midwife came and took him and he started crying.”

Harrison was kept at the hospital for a week as a precaution and put on antibiotics in case he had picked up an infection from the toilet water.

She plans to make a further complaint.

Director of women’s and children’s services, Carol Drummond, said: “A first-time mother’s cervix usually dilates at less than 1cm an hour and, to reduce the risk of infection, examinations are usually not performed more frequently than every four hours. Miss Kennedy’s cervix dilated far quicker than would be expected, and she delivered her baby in the bathroom.

“We try to ensure that every woman has the best possible experience of labour and childbirth, and are making improvements to our maternity services”, she added.

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