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Baby's airways not checked duing hospital transfer, inquest told

A unresponsive baby boy’s airways were not checked while he was transferred from a midwifery-led unit to a hospital, an inquest has heard.

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The Walsall Midwifery-Led Unit, in Charles Street, Walsall

Zachary Johnson was moved to the main Walsall Manor Hospital on October 15, 2016, following complications with his water birth but died hours after being born.

Marie Hathaway was working as team leader on the night Zachary – whom she said also arrived without a hat, used to help regulate his temperature – was rushed to the delivery suite from the Walsall Manor’s midwifery-led unit.

During yesterday’s hearing at the Black Country Coroner’s Court, she said she received a call at 9.20pm from midwife Patricia Cronin that an unresponsive newborn with no heart beat needed to be transferred urgently.

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She said: “On the arrival the baby was white and floppy. I continued with the chest compressions and attended to the baby’s airways.” Zachary’s heart rate was 129 beats per minute by 9.35pm.

His saturation levels also eventually rose to 100 per cent, with his temperature at 33.5C, the inquest heard.

Zachary was transferred to the Neonatal Unit but sadly his condition deteriorated rapidly and died at 6.37am, on October 16, 2016.

Miss Julie-Anne Luck, representing the parents, asked Mrs Hathaway about the importance of Zachary wearing a hat.

She replied: “Wearing a hat is absolutely vital. The baby will be using up precious energy to keep warm, which should be used to preserve his vital organs.”

The inquest also heard that CCTV footage showed neither the paramedics, nor midwives, who had travelled in the ambulance, had kept Zachary’s airways clear.

A verdict on the inquest was due to be delivered this afternoon.

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