A child died three days after an unsupervised home birth.
The child died as a result of injuries received during and just
A coronial enquiry into the child's death took place.
The child's mother advised the coroner that she did not
understand the risks involved.
The child's parents were urged not to give birth at home
because the foetus was lying sideways in the womb and the mother
had tested positive for hepatitis C.
The child was born on 17 February 2015 at his parent's home
near Nimbin in Northern New South Wales. The child was born breech
(bottom first) and without medical assistance. The child was born
not breathing and it took some time for effective resuscitation to
The child was rushed to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
Intensive Care Nursery. The child was diagnosed as having suffered
from hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and that his prospect of
survival was minimal. He was pronounced dead on 19 February
The coroner heard that the child's parents were urged not to
give birth at home because the foetus was lying sideways and the
mother had tested positive for hepatitis C. The mother advised the
coroner that she wanted to avoid going to a hospital due to
hospitals being "full of sick people". She also advised
the coroner that she trusted her husband, who had previously
delivered five of his own children at home, and did not want a
confrontation about where the baby would be born.
The investigation lead to two recommendations being made,
That the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
consider developing policy guidelines to assist and support its
members in advising patients in relation to requests for
nonhospital births. Consideration could be given to the
"National Midwifery Guidelines for Consultation and
That the Northern NSW Local Health District consider
implementing an information outreach program to local general
practitioners about the services currently provided by Northern NSW
Local Health District in relation to mothers wanting non-hospital
The circumstances of NA's death highlight the need for a
mechanism being put in place to monitor pregnancies that occur
outside the hospital system and for parents to be made aware of the
risks associated in non-hospital births. The recommendations made
by the coroner, if followed, should assist in this regard.
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The requirement to provide home care packages on a consumer directed care basis (CDC) commenced on 1 July 2015.
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