Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shoulder dystocia and 13th MDC homebirth baby dies so far this year

Another senseless death at homebirth. From the father's blog:
We had a terrible tragedy yesterday. L. had a long, hard labor. The child would move a bit and then stay, then move a bit more and then stay even longer...

But the shoulders were stuck. The midwives went into emergency mode and essentially pulled the child out of L., but by then it was nearly too late. He was blue when he emerged and the cord was only pulsing weekly.

All hell broke loose. 911, paramedics, the hospital, L. on the ground sobbing, it was horrible. And it is seared into my mind forever. I was the only one with him at the hospital while they worked on him at the trauma ward. They got his heart beating and he started breathing, but it had been a long time...

He was beautiful. Perfect and tiny, everything intact and finally there was a heart beating...

The doctors told me that they had done a a variety of tests on him to see how well his brain was functioning, and the news was not good. Terrible, in fact. He was brain dead, they told me and that once off the ventilator he would would pass on very soon later.

They brought me to him in the NICU and I sat and held him in my arms for a while, just us... I know that I will always cherish those hours with him despite the cords and beeps and horror of hospital. His heart was beating, he was pink and alive, and he was in my arms...

... At 3am this morning they brought him to us, once he had passed. His name was S. and he will be a part of us forever.
This is the 13th preventable homebirth death on MDC so far this year. In addition, there have been at least 2 cases of profound anoxic brain damage. That is an increase in deaths from 2007, when there were 10 preventable homebirth deaths reported. Considering that there are less than 30 homebirths per month on MDC, 13 deaths means a neonatal death rate of more than 40/1000. Compare that to the death at low risk hospital birth of less than 0.4/1000. That means that the MDC homebirth death rate in the past 10 months has been an extraordinary 100 times higher than the hospital death rate.

post edited at 9:36 PM per father's request


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