Grieving mother seeks action following the harrowing death of her healthy son after an 18-hour traumatic delivery
- Rebecca Spreadborough lost her newborn
- Baby Alby could not be resuscitated
- She claims hospital staff ‘missed the signs’
A grief-stricken mother is demanding answers following the loss of her newborn son following complications during a gruesome 18-hour labor that she says staff at a Queensland hospital were ‘not equipped to’.
Tim and Rebecca Spreadborough are now pushing for an independent assessment after her son Alby died on February 5 at Emerald Hospital in central Queensland.
She claims the staff “missed all the signals” during her 18-hour obstructive labour.
After Ms Spreadborough’s water broke at 39 weeks, she claims hospital staff told her she had only ‘urinated herself’ and to wait until morning.
The couple arrived at the hospital at 5:30am, where staff initially reassured the couple that the baby was ‘happy’, despite signs pointing to an obstructive delivery – when the baby can’t go out through the birth canal or pelvis.
Doctors eventually performed an emergency c-section and severed Mrs Spreadborough’s placenta to extract baby Alby, who could not be resuscitated after delivery.
A coroner has since informed the couple that the cause of death was an obstructed delivery.
Ms Spreadborough (pictured) claimed she was not told of the complications during her delivery that led to the death of her newborn Alby
The Queensland couple (pictured) are now calling for a statewide policy to manage stymied labor and dedicated bereavement teams for grieving parents
WHAT IS RESTRICTED LABOR?
Obstructed labor is when the baby cannot descend through the birth canal because it is physically blocked during contractions.
It can occur during prolonged labor and lead to serious complications for both mother and child
The incident is being investigated by the Health Ombudsman following an internal assessment by the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.
A May 25 final report stated, “The prenatal, intrapartum, and neonatal care for RS her infant mostly demonstrates reasonable clinical care and decision making consistent with clinical practice standards.”
However, Ms Spreadborough has since objected to the findings, saying the report recognized many signs of an obstructed delivery.
She claims that complications during the 18 hour labor were not adequately communicated to her.
“I developed Bandl’s Ring, my contractions were so strong they pushed the baby down, I had meconium, my dilation stopped, I had abnormal cardiotocographic (CTG) scans, cervical oedema,” Ms Spreadborough told the Courier Mail.
“It’s like they haven’t seen all the signs.”
The grieving mother claims staff only told her she was suffering from meconium and that her baby was in distress when she asked why a CTG monitor – which tracks the baby’s heartbeat – had been placed on her.
Ms Spreadborough says she was reassured by hospital staff that she could continue to give birth vaginally despite knowing there had been no fetal descent.
“After he left, all I heard after that was 3,2,1 over and over,” she recalls.
“We never heard him cry.”
The couple from Queensland is now calling a statewide policy to manage hindered employment, as well as dedicated bereavement teams for grieving parents.
Staff at Emerald Hospital (pictured) in central Queensland assured her the baby was ‘happy’, despite scans and tests suggesting an obstructed delivery
A review by clinical experts both internally and externally from the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service advised the Emerald maternity team to conduct regular emergency neonatal resuscitation drills and regular clinical audits.
Other recommendations include an assessment of compliance with CTG interpretation, documentation, escalation and education policies, specifically that all maternity care clinicians perform regular annual CTG updates.
The review also recommended using a fetal pillow as a first-line treatment in cases where raising the fetal head is required.
Health Secretary Shannon Fentiman said it was a “heartbreaking” story.
“I know the hospital is working with the family,” she said. ‘I also know that an independent investigation is underway, including with the health ombudsman.
“We need to allow that research to take place, but I want to be very clear that I expect the very highest standards for women and for women’s health.”