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Health board apology after baby's death

A HEALTH board has had to apologise for the lack of appropriate care and advice given to a patient while she was pregnant and during the delivery of her baby, who was stillborn.

The woman, identified as Ms A in the report, had been admitted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness in December 2011 as her waters had broken. The next day labour was speeded up but her baby was stillborn following shoulder dystocia, when the baby's shoulders become caught in the mother's pelvis.

Another party lodged the complaint about NHS Highland to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Jim Martin because she was concerned that the management of Ms A's pregnancy and labour could have been handled better had staff been aware of previous complications she had experienced during the birth of her first child in 1997 and her second child in 2004.

Mr Martin called on NHS Highland to apologise for these failings. He said there should be a review of guidance to staff to ensure that risks of recurrent shoulder dystocia are discussed with mothers together with birthing options such as elective caesareans.

In addition, the antenatal midwife who looked after Ms A should be reminded of the importance of documenting previous history of shoulder dystocia in the handover note to the labour midwife.

NHS Highland Chief Executive, Elaine Mead, said the health board fully accepted the recommendations made and action was being taken.

"I want to publicly apologise on behalf of NHS Highland for our failures in the care and treatment we provided. I deeply regret that we were unable to provide an appropriate level of care."

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