Toni Alexander and Ava. Photo / Joel Ford
Toni Alexander and Ava. Photo / Joel Ford
Waikato Hospital has apologised to a woman who was told to terminate a pregnancy weeks before giving birth to a healthy baby.
Toni Alexander was told her unborn baby had no facial bones, missing organs and had no chance of survival after she was diagnosed with preterm premature rupture of membranes, or PPROM.
Two weeks ago, the Herald on Sundayreported she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
"They visited me at home and said they were sorry for what had happened and said the hospital should have been up to scratch," Alexander said. "They accepted they had made a mistake but wouldn't take responsibility for one of the main doctors who told us to terminate, because she doesn't work there anymore."
Apart from a horseshoe kidney, which affects one in 400 newborns, Ava, now 1, was like any other baby. Waikato Hospital could not explain why the scans showed missing organs and facial bones.
Figures released under the Official Information Act estimate around 1800 babies are delivered after PPROM diagnoses in New Zealand each year. Most are healthy. Around 25 neonatal deaths were thought to be PPROM-related.
Ava's grandmother, Janine Cornelder, said she wanted the hospital to "step up" and institute policies so women diagnosed with PPROM were given good advice - not just told to terminate.
They also wanted to meet staff at Auckland Hospital where Toni was treated from 26 weeks and where she was advised to terminate at 30 weeks.
PPROM causes the loss of amniotic fluid rich in the protein, carbohydrates, lipids and urea a growing fetus needs to survive.
Waikato Hospital confirmed that it met Alexander and was still working through her concerns.
"We are glad she has a healthy baby and we will continue to work with her," said chief operating officer Jan Adams.