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Baby dies after birth was not immediately noticed

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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The Manchester Evening News has reported the tragic story of a baby who died at St. Mary’s Hospital in Manchester.

Baby Maninder Singh was starved of oxygen at birth after midwives failed to notice that he had been born under the bed sheets. His mother Geeta Singh had been given both a spinal block and an epidural earlier in her labour, leaving her completely numb and unaware that Maninder had been born.

Medical evidence suggests Maninder was already in a poor condition, but the delay in staff noticing he had been born and acting to resuscitate him meant he suffered further, avoidable injury. He suffered severe brain damage and died six months later.

Following a three-day inquest, Manchester Coroner Nigel Meadows recorded a narrative verdict and highlighted eight specific failings which led to the baby's death.

Chief among these failings was the fact that midwives did not regularly check the progress of Geeta’s labour. Maninder’s birth was discovered when midwives went to attach a foetal monitor to his scalp. However, medical experts at the inquest confirmed that this should have been done much earlier.

Maninder’s father Kamaljeet Singh received a written apology from the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on Sunday. However, Mr Singh described the apology as “too little too late” having waited four years to receive it.

Mr Singh’s words have added poignancy given that during this time, his wife Geeta sadly died following complications from the birth of her second child in 2010.

Kathryn Murphy, head of nursing and midwifery at the hospital, expressed "profound regret" and said a number of changes have been made since Maninder's death.

She added: "We have recognised there were failings surrounding the care of Maninder Singh in 2008 and we accept that this fell below the level of care we normally provide."

Maninder’s death has been called a unique tragedy. The death of both mother and son certainly makes this an extraordinarily sad case. However, it is an unfortunate truth that the failure to adequately monitor the progression of mother and child labour is not an isolated occurrence.

By Laura Priestley from Stephensons' clinical negligence team