Hospital bosses apologise for ‘unacceptable levels of care’ after baby born in toilet

South Tyneside District Hospital.
South Tyneside District Hospital.

Hospital bosses have apologised for “unacceptable levels of care” after a baby was born in a toilet because his mother claimed she was “fobbed off” by her midwife.

The newborn fell into the lavatory pan after the sudden arrival at South Tyneside District Hospital in March 2014, a hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

The patient had blamed midwife Diane Harmer, claiming that when she asked to use the toilet, she was told ‘just go in the sheets’.

But Harmer faces no further sanctions after the panel found the patient’s evidence to be inconsistent and that she was drowsy from painkillers at the time.

Dr Bob Brown, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s executive director, nursing and patient safety, has apologised for what happened.

He said: “I am very sorry for the unacceptable level of care this mother and her family experienced at the time and trust representatives have met with them and have apologised in person.

“Following a review undertaken in the weeks after the incident, we made a number of improvements in our practice, to ensure that our normally very high standards of care are maintained.”

It was claimed Harmer told the patient, who has not been named, she should win the lottery because of mess she had to clear up and the amount of horrible things she had to do.

The panel found this was a joke that had been taken out of context by the patient.

Panel chairwoman, Lesley White, said: “There is no doubt that what the patient has said, she believes, and I make no criticism of her.”

But she said the patient’s recollections were affected by the severe trauma she had suffered.

The panel cleared Harmer of failing to provide an adequate standard of care to Patient B and also using inappropriate language towards her.

She was also cleared of failing to provide an adequate standard of care for two other patients. Harmer admitted to two counts of not counter signing a student midwife’s notes.