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Dad demands hospital chief at the Royal Free resigns in row over wife's treatment

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 August 2012 | UPDATED: 08:59 23 October 2019

A first-time father has called for senior managers at the Royal Free Hospital to resign after his 30 desperate calls for help while his wife was giving birth were largely ignored.

The new dad's baby daughter "miraculously" survived after her breech birth began at home in Hampstead Garden Suburb.

His desperate pleas to take his wife into hospital were dismissed and she was advised to take a bath and some paracetamol despite having regular contractions on September 23 last year.

Just two hours later her waters broke and the baby's blue leg started to emerge.

The girl's father was convinced his first child had died, strangled by the umbilical cord. He frantically bundled his wife into the car at midnight and, with tears in his eyes, sped to the hospital, overtaking a bus on a blind corner in his haste.

"I was out of my mind," he said. "I was thinking, 'If my wife survives this that would be the best I could hope for'. But in fact the outcome was a miracle."

Hospital bosses have been forced to apologise to the family following an investigation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

The hospital has also offered to pay the family £300 in compensation for their distress.

But the father, whose name we have been asked not to publish, is demanding the resignation of a senior figure at the hospital in Pond Street, Hampstead, after the ordeal. "I told them at the time I would not give up until someone takes responsibility and gives up their licence to practice," he said.

"It seems to me that these people are not qualified for the job.

"By a miracle both my wife and daughter survived, but the next person might not be so lucky."

The Royal Free Hospital said it was unable to comment on the individual case.

But a spokeswoman said: "A footling breech presentation is a rare situation (0.15 to 0.45 per cent of births) and rapid labour is rare and unpredictable in a first-time mother. We are very pleased that [the mother] and the baby are doing well."

The hospital said mothers who contact the labour ward are assessed by a midwife to determine whether labour is underway and given appropriate advice.

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