London: A newborn baby died after receiving "chaotic" care at an understaffed maternity unit, an inquest heard on Thursday.

Ebony McCall died shortly after she was born after medical staff failed to spot her erratic heartbeat, it was alleged.

Her mother, Amanda McCall, 18, had been admitted in severe pain to the Milton Keynes General Hospital's maternity unit the day before she gave birth.

Doctors missed two chances to save Ebony's life at the hospital — which was criticised earlier this year for blunders which led to the death of another baby.

McCall and her parents had asked for an emergency surgical delivery because of the pain she was in, but doctors ruled against it.


Then they failed to spot Ebony's erratic heartbeat and so did not order an emergency caesarean.

Staff were overstretched as 12 mothers gave birth at the unit that night — and only four midwives were on duty, the court heard.

McCall was only given a caesarean section after her mother Breda became so concerned about the heart monitor reading that she pressed a panic button.

Ebony was born at 3.21am on May 9 this year weighing 7lbs 4oz. She died at 3.54am from lack of oxygen.

McCall was 40 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the hospital with abdominal pain, the inquest in Milton Keynes heard.

Paul Wood, a consultant obstetrician, reviewed notes of the labour as an expert witness. He said McCall should have been "the highest priority" due to her health problems including a faulty heart valve, only one working kidney and curvature of the spine.

Wood said McCall should have had a midwife by her at all times and one-to-one care would "probably" have saved Ebony's life.


By 10.30pm, Miss McCall was diagnosed as in labour and "she was rolling in pain".

Wood said: "At that point, due to the pressures on the maternity unit, the management of labour from thereon was somewhat chaotic."

The inquest continues.