Safety probe launched following baby death and 3 injured

Rockhampton Hospital. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton Hospital. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

What we know

  • There were four serious incidents during child births at the Rockhampton Hospital in the last 12 months
  • One baby has died
  • Three babies have suffered serious injuries
  • The babies were transferred to Brisbane specialists due to the seriousness of injuries
  • Each case was investigated and practices have been updated and improved
  • An independent review has been launched to ensure overall safety
  • The community can rest assured the hospital is considered to be safe at this time


EARLIER: AN independent review will be launched into safety systems in the maternity unit at Rockhampton Hospital after the death of a baby and the injury of three others during the past 12 months.  

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Len Richards ordered an independent review after the latest incident.  

Mr Richards said potential safety issues were identified after three incidents in 2015.  

"Each of these incidents was reviewed by a Root Cause Analysis, which is designed to identify measures to reduce future patient harm," Mr Richards said.  

"As a result, strict safety measures were put in place such as a requirement for midwives to have all CTG reports reviewed by a second midwife and countersigned."  

The independent review will include the circumstances of each case.  

"Each of the families involved in these incidents has been informed of these issues," Mr Richards said.  

"I offer my unreserved apology to these families and I assure each of them and the community that I will do everything I can to ensure it never happens again."  

UPDATE 4.15PM: LEN Richards this afternoon addressed the media in regards to the launch of maternity unit safety reviews at Rockhampton Hospital. 

"Within the last 12 months we've had four serious clinical incidents in our maternity service here within Rockhampton Hospital," Mr Richards said. 

"Four serious incidents is four too many so I will be commissioning an independent review into the safety systems in the maternity unit. 

"These have been significant incidents. I don't want to go into any of the clinical details, I think suffice to say that the babies themselves were transferred down to Brisbane and have been looked after by tertiary specialists because of the injuries through childbirth.

"We did a review after each and every incident and what we have done is put in improvements in our safety systems that were specific to individual cases. 

"There have been some common themes through the incidents, interpretations of CTGs which is a monitoring of the baby's heart during labour and delivery, escalation between midwives and obstetricians and that sort of thing. 

"An independent review will bring fresh and expert eyes to look at our systems and our service to suggest further improvements for us."

Mr Richards assured the community, specifically expectant mothers, that immediate action was being taken.

"Before we go on I'd like to offer my unreserved apologies to the families affected and I can assure them I and the board will do everything to ensure it does not happen again," he said. 

"I'd also like to reassure the community and those expectant mothers who are using our services that we have taken immediate action, we have higher levels of supervision in the unit, improved and more regular training, better access to obstetricians and the expertise that they bring and a review of our protocols and procedures.

"What we decided on the board today was that because there had been four that were quite similar and quite serious, we wanted to bring in an independent review to have a look at the whole system.

"We're about to commission the review, we want it do it quickly and we'll be talking to the Royal College of Obstetricians and we'll also be talking to expert midwives. 

"I hope to have it up and running in March this year. It will be a big piece of work but we want to have it over and done with as quickly as possible. I think it will be a two to three month period."

Mr Richards said the mothers involved had been notified. 

"We have spoke to two of the mothers of the four to tell them we are launching this review and we've left messages for the other two and will try to contact them as the night goes on," Mr Richards said. 

Executive Director of Medical Services Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services, Doctor David Cooper, said it was important to introduce immediate mitigation strategies. 

"I can assure the community that the service is safe and we have put these strategies in place which includes making sure a specialist obstetrician is immediately available and overseeing the case with the utmost attention ," Dr Cooper said. 

"It ensures more regular ward rounding and pro-activity in the labour ward to ensure that a specialist is there at the bedside when required. 

"It's important also that we've put in these training modules to ensure extra vigilance is taken over the baby monitoring devices."

Dr Cooper said many babies, over 1300, were delivered at Rockhampton Hospital safely every year. 

"We've got an excellent obstetric workforce, we do have excellent midwives and we really want to get to the bottom of these cases with this external review," he said. 

"I can assure the community that the service is ultimately safe."

Topics:  baby death rockhampton hospital rockhampton maternity

Man in motorcycle accident on salt flat at Mulumbin

Ambulance generic

EMERGENCY crews are on their way to a motorcycle accident.

Dean and Elphinstone streets

Elphinstone St is left littered with debris after water from Frenchman's Creek washed over the road.

Dean St reconstruction stage one near completion

REVEALED: Rocky poised for huge growth

Welcome to Rockhampton Bull at Yeppen Round-a-bout. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin

Rocky predicted to boom in near future

Local Partners

Dean and Elphinstone streets

A $1.633 MILLION roadworks project in North Rockhampton is on track to be completed by the end of the year.


OKTOBERFEST: Rachel Driemel, Tori Clayson, Naomi Clayson, Emily Garner and Proll at the Emu Park Oktoberfest last year which is on tomorrow at Bell Park.

LOOKING for something to do this weekend?

REVIEW: Teamwork makes this dream show truly magical

MAGICAL MUSICAL: Matthew Dennis and Catherine Schwarten star as Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious in RMU's production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Don't miss this fantasmagorical musical in the Pilbeam this weekend

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Greg and Christine find a new (gold) lease on life

Christine and Greg Clark star in the TV series Aussie Gold Hunters.

COUPLE reckons there’s nothing like finding your first gold nugget.

Race facts and stats a winning combination

Impress colleagues with Melbourne Cup trivia

Birdy's voice soars during concert

English singer Birdy proves her skill during a recent concert.

The singer, 20, has acquired mythical status in the music world

REVEALED: Eat St Markets coming to Yeppoon

Nathan O'Connor is planning to run monthly Eat Street Markets on Tanby Road starting in late November.

Yeppoon gets a taste of Brisbane's Eat St starting next month

Miley Cyrus finally confirms engagement to Liam Hemsworth

Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus.

Eccentric singer confirms long-held rumour

Former Oasis frontman threw popcorn at his brother

The Gallagher brothers have famously feuded for many years.

Oasis brothers still haven't made up

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Coast biggest rental drop in Qld

Vacancy rates for the September quarter.

Vacancy rates on Coast a promising sign

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Low rent helps teen get ahead

Yeppoon Real Estate principal and owner Esme Coren at one of their rental properties in Yeppoon.

Low rent great for tenant, not for owner

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!