Thursday, September 18, 2008

Homebirth death in Australia

Unfortunately, I run across stories of homebirth deaths so routinely, I've stopped blogging about each one individually. I thought that this one was worth mentioning because of the knee jerk reaction of the doula. Although no cause of death has yet been determined, the doula claimed: ""I can assure you, this wasn't home birth-related."

You can find the complete story here:
A newborn died after a woman ignored the pleas of doctors and nurses and gave birth at home without medical support.

The tragedy, which has been referred to the coroner, confirms the fears of maternity experts who are alarmed at the trend of women shunning the health system in favour of risky, unsupervised home births.

The baby died last Sunday three days after the mother presented at Nepean Hospital. Doctors found the baby was fine but warned the woman she was at high risk of complications, including the rupture of a scar from a previous caesarean. They said they wanted to induce labour immediately.

She refused and returned to her Blue Mountains home where she later gave birth to a stillborn baby.

Two doulas, who are not medically trained but provide emotional support for women before and during childbirth, and a qualified independent midwife were called but arrived too late.

The baby's father told The Sun-Herald the doulas had told him the baby was stillborn due to an infection contracted inside the womb.

He said: "Would the baby have lived had we been in hospital? I have no idea. The suspicion is that there was an infection prior to birth. I'm told it was a freakish occurrence that happens one in a thousand cases."

The man said his wife was "in a very bad way"...

One of the doulas present at the birth said: "I can assure you, this wasn't home birth-related. There was an infection a long time before."
So let me get this straight. The baby died from a long standing infection, but she's sure that has nothing to do with the homebirth? Does she think they wouldn't have noticed this at the hospital? Does she think they wouldn't have treated it? Does she think that they wouldn't have monitored the baby during labor and waited to find out it was dead when it was finally born, as she did?

If the baby died of infection, the likely cause is group B strep sepsis. In that case, it almost certainly was treatable, and very likely preventable.

How can homebirth providers learn anything when they won't take responsibility for their own disasters?


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