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Couple heartbroken as newborn baby daughter dies after hospital mistake

Rhianna Benson

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| Last updated 

Couple heartbroken as newborn baby daughter dies after hospital mistake

Featured Image Credit: Credit: 7NEWS

What was supposed to be the happiest day of Meg and James Flaskett's life quickly became the stuff of nightmares.

The Australian couple were in hospital following the birth of their first child, a beautiful baby daughter.

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They'd tied the knot just months earlier, had just moved into their dream home, and had enjoyed an uncomplicated pregnancy with baby Thea, having suffered fertility complications for over a year.

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"Everything was really lining up perfectly and it seemed like the perfect time to bring our little human into the world," Meg told 7NEWS.

"She was so wanted."

Meg had an 'instinct that something wasn’t quite right' during the later stages of her pregnancy, noting that the baby had stopped moving or growing as much during the last few weeks.

She told medical staff at Redcliffe Hospital, north of Brisbane, that she 'wasn't confident' about Thea's health and asked for a Cesarean-section birth.

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The couple's baby died in their arms. Credit: 7NEWS
The couple's baby died in their arms. Credit: 7NEWS

Instead, the decision was made by the hospital to induce her labour for a vaginal birth at 38 weeks.

Meg recalled the big day arriving: "They were supposed to break my waters early Sunday morning and they pushed it back until midday, then until later that evening. They told us they were just really busy.

"At that point, I hadn’t really felt Thea move for most of the day. But nobody had really checked in."

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The time finally came to induce her, but Meg began to endure 'a lot of pain' around half an hour into the birth.

After both multiple types of anaesthetic and an epidural injection couldn't relieve her agony, she told staff she needed to have a C-section.

Meg was denied a C-section. Credit: 7NEWS
Meg was denied a C-section. Credit: 7NEWS

However, Thea was instead born vaginally via a vacuum extraction.

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After enduring a painful labour and finally giving birth to she and James' tiny bundle of joy however, their initial happiness quickly turned into despair as baby Thea died in dad James's arms.

The infant had been born with the umbilical cord tied around her neck.

"She didn’t cry," Meg remembered. "She had the cord around her neck. They unwrapped that and placed her onto my chest.

"She was a kind of blue-ish colour and had puckered lips, and was groaning."

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The couple said that after being told by medics that the baby 'was fine' but 'needed a little help breathing', she was given an oxygen tank, but things went from bad to worse.

The couple believe baby Thea's death was preventable. Credit: 7NEWS
The couple believe baby Thea's death was preventable. Credit: 7NEWS

"That’s when she was met with the empty oxygen tank," Meg said. "One of the midwives went to put it on and was like, ‘This one’s empty, we need to change it’.

"No one really knew how to change it. It went back and forth for a while.

"It seemed like no one knew how to change to that life-saving equipment that our baby quite clearly needed."

After finally being given oxygen, the couple were told that their beautiful baby girl wouldn't make it.

"Thea wasn’t displaying signs of brain activity anymore, her organs were shutting down, and if we wanted to hold her, now would be the time," Meg said.

"We decided that we would have our cuddle. At that point, she was placed into my arms and I was just admiring every part of her.

An official investigation into Thea's death is underway. Credit: 7NEWS
An official investigation into Thea's death is underway. Credit: 7NEWS

"It was the first time I got to take it all in and notice her red hair and how much she looked like both James and I. She was everything I dreamt she could be and more."

Now, two months on, the couple believe their daughter's death was a 'totally preventable occurrence'.

"I look back and wonder the pain she would have felt in those hours," Meg said.

"Had she have been met with the oxygen, even in those first eight minutes when they were saying she was ok, I think she would have had a much better chance."

Both a coronial investigation and an internal review by the hospital into Thea’s death are currently underway.

Kim Hansen, the hospital’s medical director of children’s health, said staff had 'absolutely' done 'everything possible' to resuscitate Thea.

7News reports Hansen said: “We’re waiting for the details from the internal review and the coroner’s findings and that will give us more information about what happened.

“I understand the oxygen tank required changing during the resuscitation of baby Thea, and that was done.

“We do know that baby Thea became critically unwell very soon after the delivery and resuscitating the baby took the attention of the staff.

“The staff noticed there were problems with baby Thea’s breathing very soon after birth and then the resuscitation started.”

She added that it's 'not uncommon' for oxygen tanks to require changing in the middle of an emergency.

Tyla has contacted Redcliffe Hospital for comment.

Topics: Health, Parenting, Australia

Rhianna Benson
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