A mother who was told the life of her newborn baby could have been saved is pleased that national guidelines for paramedics have been changed to prevent similar tragedies.
Terri Tissier’s daughter Lucy Bailey died in hospital 38 hours after she was born at Terri’s home in West Road, Oakham, on September 16, 2010.
An inquest held into Lucy’s death in July heard that paramedics from East Midlands Ambulance Service had not been able to assist in pulling out the baby because of the UK Ambulance Service Clinical Practice Guidelines.
The guidelines, written the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee, said paramedics could assist the mother only with her breathing and by helping her into different birthing positions.
Assistant deputy coroner Robert Chapman recorded a narrative verdict, which said it was likely Lucy had died from “oxygen starvation to the brain”. He said Lucy’s life could have been saved if the paramedics were allowed to physically intervene. He wrote to the committee, asking it to review its training and guidelines.
The committee has now updated its guidelines, which will come into action on Friday next week. They recommend the use of “gentle traction” and if that does not work after two attempts, “moderate pressure” can be applied to the baby to aid the delivery.
Terri, 24, of West Road, Oakham, said she was pleased the guidelines had been changed.
She said: “I really appreciate that they have taken notice and changed the guidelines.
“I know that nothing will bring Lucy back but it puts me at ease and makes me feel better to know that it should never happen again.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I did.”
Terri had not planned for a home birth but her mother Lyn, who lives in Stamford, and her partner Gavin Bailey, decided to call 999 because her contractions were strong.
Paramedic Adam Martin and his assistant Tony Barker tried moving Terri into different birthing positions to move the delivery along.
They called for a midwife when the baby’s head began to crown but when the midwife arrived, she was told the baby’s head had been visible for six minutes.
Lucy was rushed to Leicester Royal Infirmary, pale in colour and not breathing. She was put on a ventilator but a brain scan found there was no sign of activity. Terri made the decision to turn off Lucy’s ventilator.
Paramedics will now have to sign that they have received a copy of the new 2013 guidelines. They will also be assessed over the next year.
Terri believes paramedics will now feel better equipped to deal with home births.
She also hopes the new guidelines will help the paramedics who attended Lucy’s birth.
Terri said: “It never once crossed my mind that they wouldn’t be able to physically help deliver. I know it’s not their job to do it but I thought they would be able to do more than they did.
“But after hearing details at the inquest, I know how restricted they were.
“I hope they feel calmer now that if they are put in the same position they’ll be able to do more to help.
“They shouldn’t be trying to do the job of a midwife but allowing them to do a little bit more is a lot better.”
Terri and Gavin, who have two sons, Luke, six, and Ethan, one, have since set up Lucy’s Hope 4 Others to raise money for the neo-natal unit. So far, more than £1,000 has been raised.