Requests for Caesarean denied in birth blunder

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 January, 2012, 12:00am


Parents of a baby born this month say doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital denied their repeated requests for a Caesarean section delivery after a long, difficult labour, which led to the newborn's oxygen supply being cut for more than 20 minutes.

The parents met hospital doctors yesterday about the January 2 birth, but were unhappy with the outcome.

'[The hospital] was unable to give us satisfactory answers on what went wrong during the birth, and they were a bit unwilling to admit that they made any particular mistakes either,' said the father, Au Po-sang. 'I think there must be some kind of problem in the whole [birth] process, or else why was my baby left without oxygen for over 20 minutes? The hospital's reply was just that there are rare cases like this sometimes.'

Mother Supapon Chinvang, who was induced after being admitted, said she pleaded for a Caesarean when the baby was found to be bigger than initially estimated and the birth was difficult, but was ignored. The induced labour lasted over nine hours. '[Medical staff] just told me to stop talking and concentrate on pushing,' the new mother said.

Au said both he and his wife had asked a few times for the surgery, but they were ignored. Doctors estimated that the baby boy, named Au Cheuk-man, would weigh around 3.8kg and decided on a natural birth, but he weighed 4.37kg.

The birth was also complicated when the baby's shoulder became stuck behind the mother's pelvic bone, known as shoulder dystocia, and compression of the umbilical cord occurred in the birth canal.

He was deprived of oxygen for more than 20 minutes before a suction device was used. Doctors gave him six injections to restart his heart.

A hospital spokeswoman said last night that doctors decided against a Caesarean section because of risk factors. A report has been handed to the Hospital Authority.

Officials have met the family three times, extending apologies.

The baby has been in intensive care since birth. He only regained consciousness this week. '[The baby] is still physically too weak to undergo many of the tests, so we don't know how serious the damage is to his brain and other functions,' said Au.

The hospital said a brain scan was scheduled for February 9.

Au said they would decide on their next step after receiving medical reports. 'I want the hospital to explain this ... they cannot just write this off as an accident. As for compensation, I will be asking for it and also reserve the right to prosecute in law,' said Au.