A baby who died three days after a home birth on the Gold Coast in 2018 could have been rescued if she had been born in a hospital, a study has found.
- An investigation has found baby Zamia Ely-Smith’s death could have been prevented
- Deputy State Physician Jane Bentley found that the child’s parents should have been denied a home birth following a doctor’s recommendation
- The recommended standard guidelines for examination are developed for home births
A Queensland Coroner’s Court sitting in Southport today has ruled that baby Zamia Ely-Smith’s death could have been prevented if she had not been born at home.
Baby Zamia was born without reaction on January 10, 2018 and was rushed to Gold Coast University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead three days later.
Zamia’s father filmed the labor and birth, which was part of the coronal probe.
Deputy State Physician Jane Bentley found that baby Zamia would have been born as a “healthy baby” if the birth had been in a hospital.
She found that the baby died of chorioamnionitis – an infection of the placenta and amniotic fluid.
Mrs Bentley found out that deaths had been recommended several times between 7 and 9 January by midwives Rosemary Blyth and Stephanie Oliver, whose deaths had been recommended.
“Had Mrs Blyth rejected a home birth on January 7, 2018, when impaired fetal movement was evident and hospital birth was recommended … Zamia’s death could have been prevented.”
Doctors Bentley recommended Queensland Health develop standard guidelines for home births.
She also recommended a list of the necessary equipment to take with you for a birth and an information sheet for pregnant women and their partners about the risks of home birth.
Doctors Bentley also recommended more training for newborn resuscitation.
Midwives read records
The report also concluded that the midwives, Mrs Blyth and Mrs Oliver, had not been “credible” witnesses during an investigation into the incident and collaborated on the expiration of medical records after the birth.
The study results accepted that Blyth changed the medical record to indicate that the child was not in distress when she had been.
She later said Oliver claimed she had not changed the records, but it was “clear she did”.
In the results, Coroner Bentley said recommendations that births only take place in hospitals were outside the scope of the study and would “require complex moral and medical issues” to be considered.