Newborn dies at besieged NSW hospital

By | November 14, 2020

A newborn has died at a hospital that was already under review after several newborn deaths at the facility over the past 18 months.

Western Sydney Local Health District confirmed to NCA NewsWire the newborn died on Wednesday at Blacktown Hospital although the reasons for the death are not publicly known.

Blacktown Hospital has been under intense scrutiny over newborn deaths with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard having ordered a full review into procedures following the death of four other newborns since mid-2019.

Earlier this week, 20 senior obstetricians threatened to resign over lack of access to operating theatres and understaffing issues.

Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals general manager Ned Katrib said the death of any baby was deeply distressing and his thoughts and condolences were with the family during this incredibly difficult time.

“While a healthy and safe birth for a mother and infant is the goal for all labor and delivery units, sadly in some instances, this does not occur,” he said in a statement.

“All families impacted by stillbirth or a neonatal death are provided bereavement support and if a clinical incident where serious harm or death occurs it is reported to NSW Health.

“All adverse clinical incidents are investigated in line with NSW Health incident management policy.

“The care and safety of patients remains the top priority for all health care staff at Blacktown Hospital.”

The Australian reported the death occurred following a 39 weeks pregnant mother going into labour.

It was reported she felt unwell when taken to hospital and that the baby had a normal heartbeat in the morning.

However, that afternoon clinicians checked and could not find a heartbeat.

District health administrators will investigate the death and a review known as a root cause analysis will be performed.

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“I think it was avoidable,” said one doctor familiar with the case, told The Australian.

“The infant missed out on the opportunity for an emergency caesarean section.

“There are clear system factors involved.”

Speaking on Saturday, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet offered his condolences and said the death was a “tragic situation”.

He said the death would be investigated and support offered to the family while adding the state had invested heavily in health industry.

“From a treasury perspective, we will continue to provide significant investment in out health system … there is record investment in health across the state,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean incidents like these don‘t come up and they’re incredibly tragic.”

Labor’s Opposition Health Minister Ryan Park said he was still seeking information relating to the death and reiterated his belief that the hospital needs better resourcing.

“Clearly it shows resourcing is an issue and (the hospital is) at breaking point,” he said

Mr Hazzard’s office has been contacted for comment.

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