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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Baby died after caesarean delayed
A baby died after a London doctor decided to wait for natural birth rather than deliver by a caesarean section, a medical tribunal has heard.

Dr Susan Bewley, 49, is accused of not acting in the interests of the patient, the General Medical Council heard.

The patient's water broke a day before 37 weeks into her pregnancy, but Dr Bewley decided against the planned caesarean section.

The baby was delivered still-born a day later at St Thomas' Hospital in London.

Dr Bewley denies misconduct.

'Terrible pain'

The medical panel heard that the 39-year-old patient, referred to as HL, was advised by doctors in the US, where she lived and where her two other children were born, to give birth in future by caesarean section because of her small cervix.

Her GP referred her to the hospital after she suffered bleeding in November 2004, the panel heard.

But she was rushed into hospital after her water broke on 30 December.

I had expected to give birth to a live child and not a dead baby

Dr Bewley asked HL to wait and see if a natural birth was possible.

The doctor is accused of failing to assess the baby boy's condition and arranging for his delivery.

The next day when an ultrasound found no heartbeat, HL had a caesarean section and the baby was delivered still-born.

In a statement HL said: "I had expected to give birth to a live child and not a dead baby.

"I was in terrible pain about the death of my son.

"If I had known about her (Dr Bewley) birth plan I would have asked for a second opinion," she said.

Dr Bewley has been a leading supporter for natural births, the tribunal was told.

The hearing continues.

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