Woman left to give birth alone in prison cell despite calling for help, report finds

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A woman whose baby died during childbirth in Bronzefield Prison was left to give birth alone in her cell despite calls for help several times, a new investigation finds.

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A damning report by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman highlights a series of failures in the care of Ms A, 18, who lost her newborn baby on 27 September 2019 at HMP Bronzefield, Europe’s largest women’s prison.

It details a disturbing chain of events that culminated on the night of September 26 with the young woman in “constant pain”, who cannot be named, and eventually passing out while giving birth.

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She rang the cell bell twice in the evening, first at 8:07 and then 25 minutes later, asked to see the nurse, but no one paid any attention to her. Reportedly, she had to sit on the toilet and again could not get the cell bell to call for help.

Investigators said that after giving birth to the baby, Ms A had to cut the umbilical cord herself before trying to wipe up the blood lying on the floor.

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Then the young woman is said to have put the cord in the trash and returned to bed with her baby, a girl who was “purple and not breathing” and whom she had wrapped in a towel. The jail staff did not know what had happened until shortly after 8 a.m. the next morning.

A pathologist has been unable to determine whether Baby A was born alive or born dead, and so far there have been no inquiries.

Ombudsman Sue McAllister said Ms. A. HMP was failed by an “inflexible, unimaginative and insufficiently trauma-informed” approach and “outdated and inadequate” maternity services in Bronzefield.

The report described Ms A, who was in prison for the first time, facing a robbery charge, a “very vulnerable young woman with a complicated history”, resulting in a lack of trust for people in authority. Traumatic childhood”.

The Ombudsman found that information sharing between and between prisons and health agencies was “poor” and that the 18-year-old’s approach to management was “disorganized”, with no one responsible for her care, her complete pregnancy history.

“Ms A gave birth alone in her cell overnight without medical assistance. It should never have happened. Overall, the healthcare provided to Ms A in Bronzefield was not up to the mark she might have expected in the community,” Ms McAllister said.

It says she was “sad, angry and very scared” that her baby would be taken away from her, and later with the midwifery team at the local NHS trust for “minimal or no” scans and including all antenatal care. Refusal to attend appointments.

The report concludes that Bronzefield has a commitment to delivering trauma-informed care, but there was “little practical evidence” of this in health care for Ms A. It was found that she was perceived as “difficult” and a “bad attitude” rather than an underage age of 18, for fear that her child would be taken away.

Investigators found that in the days before baby A’s birth, Ms. A’s comments had missed several opportunities to escalate, which may have led to the discovery of her labor, with staff unaware that she might be giving birth soon. Huh. He said the nurse’s response to his request on 26 September was “totally inadequate”.

It comes in the form of another woman, Louise Powell, told BBC Newsnight How her baby died during childbirth “due to errors” following labor pains at HMP Style last year.

Data published in July showed that an average of 26 pregnant women were in prison per week from nine months to March 2021. Research by the Nuffield Trust found that in 2017-18, one in ten women who gave birth while serving a prison term did so. before he reached the hospital.

Dr Kate Paradin, Chief Executive of Women in Prison Granthshala The low level of care provided to pregnant women in prison compared to the community put the safety and well-being of both mothers and their children at risk.

The charity is leading a campaign by a coalition of mothers, midwives and academics calling for a new statutory duty for judges to consider pregnancy and the health of mother and child – and jail women at all costs. To avoid punishment.

“When women are supported in the community, children can have the best start in life, including easy access to prenatal and postnatal health care,” Dr Paradine said.

Ellen MacDonald of Tucker Solicitors, representing Baby A’s mother, known as Miss A, said the identified failures were “really shocking”.

“A vulnerable young woman giving birth alone in a prison cell should never have happened, and there are a number of significant concerns about her treatment while in custody that need to be urgently and thoroughly investigated,” she said. .

The Justice Ministry said that since the death at HMP Bronzefield, it has made some “significant improvements” to the care of women in custody, including a new prison officer specializing in supporting pregnant and new mothers and providing for all women. £500,000 for the role. With free phone access to local NHS pregnancy advice services.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: “These incidents are painful, unacceptable and should never happen to any woman or child. My deepest condolences to those affected.”

HMP Bronzefield director Vicky Robinson said: “This was sad and extremely sad; nothing we can say or do will change that. We are deeply sorry this happened and our thoughts are with the entire family.” “

He said the prison was “fully cooperating” with the PPO investigation and took the matter “extremely seriously”.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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