Midwives charged with manslaughter after Melbourne mother's fatal home birth - ABC News


Published by ABC.NET.AU

Summary generated on August 14, 2020


    Two midwives have been charged with manslaughter over the death of a 36-year-old woman who suffered a major haemorrhage during a home birth in 2012.Key points:The woman was treated with a homeopathic remedy after her condition deteriorated during labour.

    A 2016 coroner's report was critical of the midwives' management of the birth.

    The midwife in charge had a "Bias against hospital birthing", the coroner found.

    Caroline Lovell died in Melbourne's Austin Hospital after complications from the birth, which took place in the lounge room of her Watsonia home.

    A 2016 inquiry recommended the case be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, after coroner Peter White ruled the midwives' management of Ms Lovell's home birth was "Inadequate".

    Victoria Police on Friday arrested and charged 59-year-old Preston woman Gaye Demanuele and 43-year-old Melody Bourne, from Mullumbimby in northern NSW, with manslaughter.

    Both women are due to face the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on August 21.Woman 'begged' for ambulanceMr White's report said Ms Lovell suffered a post-partum haemorrhage, but the "Massive vaginal blood loss" went unnoticed because she was in a birthing pool and the room had inadequate lighting.

    The coroner said Ms Lovell's vital signs were not adequately monitored and that an ambulance was not called promptly when she fainted after the birth.

    "I find she literally begged for an ambulance to be called," Mr White wrote in his report.

    Ms Lovell was experiencing light-headedness, shortness of breath and was becoming agitated, and was treated with a homeopathic remedy.

    The coroner said she descended into a state where she became "Pale" and "Unresponsive" before paramedics finally arrived.

    Ms Lovell was taken to the Austin Hospital, where doctors diagnosed multi-organ failure and a "Severe and irreversible hypoxic brain injury".

    She died at the hospital about 12 hours after arriving.

    In his findings, Mr White said the midwife in charge, Ms Demanuele, had a "Bias against hospital birthing".

    In 2016, Ms Lovell's mother Jade Markiewicz describer her daughter as "a beautiful person and a loving mother".

    "It's a tragedy that two little girls, my granddaughters are left without their mother," she said at the time.