Mother held dying baby after birth: inquest

A grieving mother has told of her dismay at hearing her newborn baby son cry moments after she was told he would not survive labour.

For the next hour Myliss and Phillip Lacey held little Ty in their arms as they watched him lose his fight for life.

Ty Lacey was born in Wollongong Hospital on February 15, 2010 at just 24 weeks gestation.

An inquest into the baby's death yesterday heard the parents felt shocked and unprepared for what they would experience at the birth of Ty and his twin Cruz, who had died in utero.

Mrs Lacey told the coroner's court yesterday she had not been given any warning about the appearance of her stillborn son before baby Cruz was wrapped in a towel and handed to her to hold.

"I assumed he would look like a baby and he didn't," she said.

"There was no discussion about what I would see or what he would look like."

Mrs Lacey said she was told by a nurse just before Ty was born that he was doing well and had a strong heartbeat.

During the labour, obstetrician Dr Robert Wanat called Randwick Royal Hospital for Women to speak to Mrs Lacey's specialist Professor Alec Welsh but was unable to reach him, and instead discussed her case with another doctor. After that call Dr Wanat told the couple Ty was a sick baby and would not survive the labour, Mrs Lacey told the court. But when she gave birth to Ty and heard him cry, she was shocked.

Phillip Lacey told the court his wife had pleaded with staff to give medical assistance but Ty was left to spend his last moments with his parents.

Michael Windsor, SC, representing the South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service, which includes Randwick Royal Hospital for Women and Wollongong Hospital, questioned Mrs Lacey about a birth plan the couple had prepared with Prof Welsh. He said the management plan indicated Ty was not to be resuscitated if he was born before 26 weeks and the couple had also spoken to the doctor about the prospect of termination if scans showed evidence of severe disability.

Mrs Lacey said she believed Prof Welsh had been stating his own recommendations.

"Not at any time did I think that there was a birthing plan in place."

Mr Windsor also asked Mrs Lacey about the couple's unwillingness to go through the mediation process after making a complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission.

The inquest, before Deputy State Coroner Ian Guy, continues today.