Stillborn inquiry finds no fault

Recommends dedicated obstetrical anesthesiology service

An independent, external review of a stillborn delivery at  Victoria General Hospital has concluded the availability of anesthesiologists was not a factor in the case.

The review, however, did make several recommendations to improve obstetrics on the Island.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority commissioned the review Aug. 19  after anesthesiologist Dr. Sue Ferreira publicly raised questions about a possible link between the incident and a shortage of anesthesiologists.

In an email to media, Ferreira said a labouring mother required an emergency cesarean section at a time when the hospital’s lone anesthesiologist was occupied with other surgeries.

“What we know is that there was a delay in care. What we need to find out is whether that delay was the reason this baby did not survive,” Ferreira wrote.

On Aug. 9, a woman came to the hospital in labour. After several hours, the fetus showed sudden signs of severe distress.

An obstetrician was called and made two failed attempts to deliver the baby with a vacuum suction and forceps, according to the review.

The patient was then delivered to the operating room for a cesarean. Upon delivery, however, the baby had no heartbeat and did not breathe and attempts at resuscitation did not work.

“After examining this case detail the review team was quite satisfied that there was no delay in the provision of anaesthesia care to the patient,” wrote review lead Dr. Ward Flemons, a professor of medicine at the University of Calgary and board member with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.

“Although for a short period of time the anesthesiologist was responsible for two patients, which although not an ideal situation, did not have any untoward impact on either patient.”

While a second anaesthesiologist and obstetrician were called in, their service was not required, and the c-section began within about 20 minutes from the time it was called. The timeline meets the guidelines by the Society of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists of Canada.

Beyond the particulars of this case, however, the review also examined obstetrics more generally in Victoria. It made 21 recommendations.

They include the need for a dedicated obstetrical anesthesiology service as soon as possible, and a call for VIHA to establish an equitable pay plan for its obstetricians and anesthesiologists.

In response, VIHA says it is working toward both recommendations.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Greater Victoria teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

One year in, teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressure from families

Richard Pierce is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Unsung Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Navy veteran helping others cope with post-traumatic stress disorder

Rich Pearce is the West Shore 2021 Unsung Hero

The value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020 (Peninsula News Review)
Value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020

New figures also show 25 per cent increase in number of new secondary suites

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read