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"Very, very tiny infant" dies in hospital after vulnerable mother attempts illegal abortion

4 September 2017


Baby Greyson, who was born even earlier than in this case, at 19 weeks and 5 days. 

The baby was delivered prematurely after her vulnerable mother developed a trauma related infection.

Kent Online is reporting that a premature baby died at Medway Maritime Hospital after her mother tried to abort her.

Born alive

The nineteen year old woman arrived at hospital with a trauma related infection in her uterus, and doctors medically induced labour. The baby girl, who a pathologist later said was twenty weeks gestation, was originally thought to be stillborn, but midwives found a heartbeat. The paper says: "Due to how early the baby was born, hospital staff were unable to intervene for legal reasons, so a midwife sat with her until she died a few hours later."

Police found evidence in the mother's flat that attempts had been made to carry out an illegal abortion, but decided that it was not in the public interest to prosecute the woman and the presumed father of the child. The court heard the mother had tried to have a legal abortion on two occasions but was told she needed a GP referral or to pay for it privately.

Very vulnerable mother

DI Ed Ruffle, who led the team investigating the death, said: "The circumstances surrounding the incident and the extreme vulnerability of the parents meant it was not in the public interest to prosecute. 

"She was one of the most vulnerable women I have ever met. She’d been in foster system from a very young age and was abused by a family member.  She’s had mental health difficulties which has led her to self-harming."

Assistant Coroner Ian Wade QC said: “This is an inquest about a very, very tiny infant and not about anything else."

"Society has failed"

SPUC's Dr Anthony McCarthy said: "Society has signally failed to protect this vulnerable woman, who has attempted to abort her own baby, only to have doctors complete the process, with the baby finally dying hours after birth. We suspect the mother had no idea of positive support available in pregnancy: such help for pregnant women, including those with mental health difficulties, should be clearly signposted in every part of the country.

"It is tragic that the mother and her boyfriend were not made aware of such support and perhaps encouraged to consider the possibility of fostering or adoption if they were really unable to care for the child.The result is a dead baby: what the coroner describes as 'a very, very tiny infant'. We mourn the baby, and suspect the mother is grieving deeply for a child she will never forget. We hope that she is at least receiving better support for her baby's loss than she received while the baby was still alive."

News in brief:

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