Baby born in a waiting room at Romford hospital
12:18 25 February 2011
A YOUNG mother had to deliver her baby on a chair with her feet propped on a suitcase and without medical help, in a waiting room at Queen’s Hospital because of a shortage of beds and staff.
Frances Randall, 21, delivered Frederick with just the help of another patient’s mother.
Because there was no one to catch the child, he fell to the floor and banged his head.
There were no beds available and Frances and her partner Scott Jordan-Freeman, from Rosedale Road, Collier Row, say they didn’t see a nurse or a midwife until after the baby was born.
The incident sparked renewed fears this week that Queen’s maternity unit will not be able to cope if the planned closure of King George Hospital’s maternity unit in Goodmayes goes ahead.
Frances said: “It was a terrible experience but I was just really worried if the baby was going to be alright.
“My partner, Scott, was there and the whole experience has made him very nervous and he still gets flashbacks about it.”
Frances’ waters broke in the waiting room of the hospital, just a few hours after she and her partner, Scott Jordan-Freeman, 20, went into the room.
As the baby’s head started to appear, Frances was forced to give birth sitting in a chair with her feet propped up on a suitcase.
Scott ran to get a midwife but when he came back in alone, he saw baby Frederick’s head hit the floor with the umbilical cord rapped around his neck.
Kiran Deep Virdee, 52, of Manor Park, whose daughter was in labour at the hospital, was also in the waiting room.
She saw the drama unfold and helped to deliver the baby.
Kiran said: “It is digusting that in this country she had to give birth on a chair, she was given no dignity, it is lucky that there was no one else around or she would have had no privacy at all.
“It’s not a nice room and she was just shouting and her partner was running for help but nobody came.”
The couple say that it was only after the baby had been born that a midwife and other nurses rushed into the room.
The baby’s cord was cut in the waiting room, before they were finally admitted to a maternity room.
Scott said: “It was just really bad, I told them her waters had broken but they didn’t want to know and just kept saying that we needed to stay in the waiting room.”
The couple had arrived at the hospital at 3.30am after Frances was having severe pains, but they were taken to the waiting room because they were told that there were not enough midwives and no beds available.
As the pains intensified, Scott tried to get help, but was told that there were no midwives and no room prepared.
Frederick was born weighing 6lbs and the couple claim that he was left with a bump on his head from where his head hit the floor.
Frances said: “The doctors said that the knock on his head did not affect him, but since then I have taken him to the hospital so many times.
“He seems fine now there is nothing to say how things are going to be in the future.”
Kiran said: “I am happy that I was there to help Frances because at the time, she was screaming and in pain and there was no one there that seemed to care, she was just helpless.
“When the baby came out and I saw the bump on his head I was really worried, but he cried and I just thank God tha he is OK.”
The incident happened in the same week that Barking and Dagenham MP Margaret Hodge and Ilford South MP Mike Gapes made an unannounced visit to the hospital to ask staff about problems at the hospital and the plans to close A&E and maternity unit at King George.
Mrs Hodge said: “We believe that the decision to close the A&E department at King George will have knock-on affects at the other local hospitals but we believe that the implications particularly on Queen’s will be disastrous.”
Mr Cruddas said: “Someone has got to get to the bottom of the problems at the hospital and the Government have got to act to stop more and more cases like this happening.”
Head of Midwifery Sue Lovell apologised to Miss Randall and said she would be happy to meet her.
She said: “We are aware that there were problems with our maternity triage area, so a new triage system is now being put in place.”
“When labouring women arrive at Queen’s they will be seen immediately by a midwife, and moved straight to the most appropriate area – whether that be the labour ward or ante-natal.
“This will eliminate the need for women to stay in waiting areas.”