Dagenham woman gives birth in hospital toilet

� A Dagenham mother has told how she gave birth to her baby into a hospital toilet bowl after staff insisted she was not ready to deliver.

Bethany Kennedy had to scoop her son, Harrison, out of the water after the traumatic birth at King George Hospital, in Goodmayes.

The youngster was fine but Bethany says her son could easily have been seriously hurt.

The 22-year-old claims she told staff shortly before that she felt ready to start pushing but they said it was too early and suggested she might need the toilet.

She said: “They said my cervix was not dilated enough and it was my first birth so I still had a while to go. I asked if maybe I needed the loo and they said yes.”


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When she got to the toilet Bethany felt the baby coming out and put her hand between her legs.

She said: “I could feel his head and started screaming and screaming for the nurses to come.

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“The toilet is opposite the nurses station and the door was open so they would have heard. But none of the staff came. They didn’t seem to believe I was giving birth.”

Bethany, of Hedgeman Road, says her now ex-partner heard her calls and came to help.

Scooped him out

“It was then that Harrison dropped out of me and straight into the toilet. His head had even gone under the u-bend of the bowl. We scooped him out, he was all blue and not crying. I was sure he was going to die.

“A midwife came and took him and he started crying.”

Harrison was kept at the hospital for a week as a precaution and put on antibiotics.

Bethany, who says she was left traumatised by the incident on February 20 last year, lodged a formal complaint with Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust, which runs King George. They have since apologised.

But the mum-of-one says major changes need to be made to stop something similar happening again.

“No mother should have to go through what I did. My son could have died, just because they didn’t take me seriously. I’m now terrified of giving birth again.”

She plans to make a further complaint.

Carol Drummond, director of women’s and children’s services, said: “A first-time mother’s cervix usually dilates at less than 1cm an hour and, to reduce the risk of infection, examinations are usually not performed more frequently than every four hours.

“Miss Kennedy’s cervix dilated far quicker than would be expected, and she delivered her baby in the bathroom.

“We try to ensure that every woman has the best possible experience of labour and childbirth, and are making improvements to our maternity services”, she added.

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