Midwives covered up their failings during homebirth: coroner

The pair falsified records so it appeared they had taken and recorded normal fetal heart rate readings

Two midwives tried to cover up their failure to adequately monitor fetal heart rate during a planned homebirth that ended in the infant’s preventable death, an inquest has found. 

Zamia Ely-Smith was born at home on 10 January 2018, unresponsive, “pale and floppy” and with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.  

She had Apgar scores of zero at one, five and 10 minutes. 

Midwives commenced CPR before calling paramedics, and the baby was admitted to the neonatal ICU at Gold Coast University Hospital with severe hypoxic encephalopathy. She was declared dead three days later.

The primary midwife had left Zamia’s mother, aged 39, to labour for 24 hours without checks or monitoring before arriving at her home about five hours before the birth, Queensland deputy state coroner Jane Bentley said.

The midwife’s birth records indicated the labour had progressed well,