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'I was not told Joshua Titcombe's mother felt unwell', midwife tells tribunal

Published 07/04/2016

James Titcombe arrivies at the disciplinary hearing of midwifes Gretta Dixon over their treatment of his wife Hoa
James Titcombe arrivies at the disciplinary hearing of midwifes Gretta Dixon over their treatment of his wife Hoa

An experienced midwife accused of failings that led to the death of a newborn baby has insisted she was not told the mother was feeling ill.

Gretta Dixon allegedly neglected to refer Hoa Titcombe to a medical practitioner for an assessment when she was informed she was unwell on Sunday October 26, 2008.

Her baby Joshua Titcombe was born on the next morning and died nine days later at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria.

Mrs Titcombe and her husband James, from Dalton-in-Furness, claim they repeatedly told hospital staff she was feeling unwell.

The expectant mother was apparently concerned about catching an infection from her young daughter, who had been sent home from school after falling ill.

Miss Dixon, who qualified as a midwife in 1998, assessed Mrs Titcombe the day before she gave birth.

She told a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing in London she had "no recollection" of her saying she was unwell and is "certain" she would have recorded it in the patient notes.

Her representative Thomas Buxton asked: "During the time the patient and the father were there did you have any concerns as to the patient's condition, her physical symptoms, anything at all?"

"No I didn't," Miss Dixon answered and added that it "wouldn't have been a problem at all" to call for a doctor to examine Mrs Titcombe if she was concerned.

Mr Buxton continued: "Are you satisfied that there was nothing that you were told or saw that morning that would have required you to bring in or call a doctor?"

"I am satisfied," Miss Dixon replied.

She said she performed an antenatal assessment, took a urine sample and checked the results of a previous urine test which showed no signs of any infection.

The only issue Mrs Titcombe reported was a "mild headache" and feeling tired, Miss Dixon added.

It is alleged that Miss Dixon's fitness to practise was impaired by reason of her alleged misconduct.

Mr Titcombe, a national adviser on patient safety at the Care Quality Commission, successfully argued for an inquest to take place into the death of his son, which heard midwives repeatedly missed chances to spot and treat a serious infection which led to the baby's death.

The NMC ruled at a previous hearing that there was no case for Dixon's colleague Catherine McCullough to answer.

The hearing continues.

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From Belfast Telegraph