SINGAPORE: A coroner’s inquiry into the death of a baby at Thomson Medical Centre in 2011 has concluded that the baby died from subdural haemorrhage and not due to a fault in doctor procedures.
State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid, in his verdict, said that baby Raphael Ang’s haemorrhage could have resulted from his mother’s vacuum—assisted vaginal delivery.
Raphael Ang was born at Thomson Medical Centre on the afternoon of 29 March 2011 and died later that night.
At 7.15pm on that day, he was noted to be pale and unwell, according to nurse reports.
He was then moved into the intensive care unit where he was placed on life support.
However by 11pm, some seven hours after he was born, baby Raphael died.
A post mortem by the Health Sciences Authority revealed that the cause of death was subdural haemorrhage, which is bleeding around the brain.
The court heard that the baby’s mother, Mrs Clarissa Ang, who was 29 years old at the time, underwent vacuum—assisted delivery.
That is when a vacuum suction cup is placed over the head of the baby to aid a vaginal delivery.
The court heard that the pressure from the vacuum—assisted delivery, combined with the mother’s own pelvic movements to push the baby, could have caused the injury to the baby.
Senior consultant Dr Ho Lai Yun from the Singapore General Hospital had also stated in a earlier hearing that the haemorrhage was not "acute", as the onset was not a rapid and sudden one.
He had added that the bleeding occurred over a period of time.
The court also heard that subdural haemorrhage could happen in complicated cases of vacuum—assisted delivery.
Noting this, State Coroner Imran said that there was "nothing to suggest that the vacuum—assisted delivery was wrong."
However, Mr Imran added that it was not "prudent to keep the parents in the dark as to the status of the baby, and this should have been consciously avoided."
Speaking to the media later, Mrs Ang said that the verdict was a "long—awaited response" and the family is still discussing with lawyers on the next step forward.
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