The News – 16 Septemeber 2014

Overview

  • A coroner has referred a midwife to a the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) after finding a baby died from undiagnosed foetal distress after a failed home birth on the state’s mid north coast.
  • Children living in remote South Australia are almost twice as likely to have a cavity, or missing or filled teeth as their city counterparts.
  • A device that uses magnets to extract bacteria, fungi and toxins from blood could one day throw a lifeline to patients with sepsis and other infections, researchers say.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th September 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-15/coroner-refers-midwife-to-complaints-commission-after-baby-dies/5744998

A coroner has referred a midwife to a the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) after finding a baby died from undiagnosed foetal distress after a failed home birth on the state’s mid north coast.

An inquest heard the boy died about 10 minutes after he was born in Taree in 2012.

His mother, who cannot be named, had been in labour for about 36 hours and the baby was born by caesarean section in hospital after the failed home birth attempt.

Deputy State Coroner Hugh Dillon said midwifery guidelines placed emphasis on problem births being referred to obstetricians as early as possible, and the failure to follow the guidelines was poor practice.

But he noted private midwife Michelle Sheldrick, who had 12 years experience, had acknowledged the “shortcomings” with which she handled the pregnancy.

He did not recommend the HCCC take any specific action against Ms Sheldrick “in the light of her admissions, her undertakings and her obvious remorse and given the current demand for midwives to perform home births”.

Coroner Dillon said the baby died after breathing in meconium, a substance formed in the bowel of a baby in utero.

Coroner Dillon found there had been “nothing to indicate any abnormality” before the date of birth, and the mother had regular scans and visits with the midwife.

He found the woman was in labour at home for nearly two days when Ms Sheldrick noticed the presence of meconium and drove her to hospital, where two obstetricians and other midwives took over the delivery.

He said it was difficult to know if admitting the mother to hospital as soon as she went in to labour would have saved the baby, but it would have allowed for proper monitoring.

Coroner Dillon said the purpose of the inquest was not to lay blame, but to see if recommendations could be made to prevent similar deaths.

The coroner said the baby’s parents had “expressed no bitterness” towards the midwife.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-15/remote-children-suffer-from-poor-oral-health-flying-doctors-say/5744754

Children living in remote South Australia are almost twice as likely to have a cavity, or missing or filled teeth as their city counterparts.

That is according to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), which conducts a twice-yearly outback oral health program.

The program, run in conjunction with the University of Adelaide’s School of Dentistry and piloted in 2011, was recently extended for three years through a partnership with Adelaide Airport.

As part of the program, senior dental students were to be flown to remote communities including Marla/Mintabie, the Gawler Ranges and the Birdsville Track.

… the program had shown signs of success from the very first clinic run.

Simple treatments, particularly for children, including the application of fluoride gel or a fissure sealant, meant few patients required follow-up treatment on their subsequent six-monthly visit to the clinic, and no children presented with new cavities.

In 2013/14, there were 96 patients, including 38 children, who attended the clinic.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/09/15/4087671.htm

A device that uses magnets to extract bacteria, fungi and toxins from blood could one day throw a lifeline to patients with sepsis and other infections, researchers say.

They say the external gadget – tested so far in rats but not yet humans – might also eventually be modified to strip Ebola and other viruses from blood.

The device was inspired by the spleen, which can continuously remove pathogens and toxins from blood without first identifying the infectious agent.

Dubbed a ‘bio-spleen’, the invention uses magnetic nanobeads coated with a genetically-engineered human blood protein called mannose-binding lectin (MBL).

The MBL binds to pathogens and toxins, which can then be “pulled out” with a magnet, the developers wrote in the journal Nature Medicine.

The bio-spleen was developed to treat sepsis, or blood infection, which affects 18 million people in the world every year, with a 30-50 per cent mortality rate.

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