Baby born in back of ambulance in Bexhill

Ambulance ENGSUS00120140128140201
Ambulance ENGSUS00120140128140201
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A baby was born in the back of an ambulance with the umbilical cord wrapped twice around her neck as mum was being rushed over to the Conquest from Eastbourne.

Baby Amelia made her first appearance at 10.40am Sunday morning and both mum Victoria Burcham, 30, and baby are well, largely thanks to the expertise of skilled paramedics. But her arrival has prompted calls for consultant-led maternity services to be restored to the DGH before more families face the pain and fear of a roadside birth.

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 explained Victoria was booked into the Conquest – rather than midwife-led unit at Eastbourne – as she had suffered from Strep B 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. Paramedics loaded my wife into the back and we were then 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.

Dan went on, “Jim was amazing - all credit due to him. There were people walking past and I wondered if anyone knew what was going on inside.”

Liz Walke, chair of the Save the DGH Campaign, said, “The Care Quality Commission is currently conducting an enquiry with about 60 inspectors at the DGH this week. Let’s hope they can stop this madness. We need maternity services back there as soon as possible.”

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 paramedic crew are trained to deal with these situations.”