As health watchdogs carried out inspections at the DGH this week, a baby was born in the back of an ambulance with the umbilical cord wrapped twice around her neck as her mum was being rushed over to the Conquest from Eastbourne.
Baby Amelia made her first appearance at 10.40am on Sunday on the A259 at Bexhill and both mum Victoria Burcham, 30, and baby are well.
But her arrival has prompted calls for consultant-led maternity services to be restored to the DGH.
Dad Dan, 31, said, “We must get doctors back to Eastbourne. I don’t know how the health authority can justify forcing people to make the journey to Hastings along that terrible road.”
Dan said Victoria was booked into the Conquest – rather than the midwife-led unit at Eastbourne – as she had been poorly and needed a specific antibiotic at the time of the birth. He said, “Her contractions were five minutes apart. I rang for an ambulance which was here in one minute. We were blue-lighted along the A259, driving right past the entrance to the DGH. We got near Bexhill, the ambulance stopped and paramedic Jim told the driver to go on for five minutes. They drove on and Jim said, ‘We’re not going to make it.’”
Both men got into the back. Then followed a terrifying few minutes as the team discovered the umbilical cord was wrapped twice around the baby’s neck, but Jim managed to free it and Amelia was born safely.
Liz Walke at the Save the DGH Campaign, said, “The CQC is conducting an enquiry at the DGH this week. Let’s hope they can stop this madness. We need maternity services back there.”
Alice Webster, director of nursing, said, “We are sorry if Mrs Burcham experienced any distress having her baby en-route to hospital in an ambulance. We appreciate that this would not have been the ideal experience for her and her family. However the ambulance crew are trained to deal with these situations.”
CQC inspectors are at the hospital to decide on an overall rating of either outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.