A mum had to give birth by the side of the A64 after she
was twice sent home from Scarborough Hospital.
On her third 46-mile round trip back to the hospital from her home near Malton, Karen Nattress, 35, only made it as far as the junction in Norton.
Her husband Craig was forced to pull over and make a frantic 999 call for help.
Luckily, he was able to flag down an off-duty ambulance. Another paramedic crew and a doctor arrived shortly afterwards to help deliver their daughter Isla that evening.
The couple say the ordeal could have been avoided if Scarborough Hospital staff had not repeatedly sent them back to their home in Grove Street, Norton.
The incident follows another birth by the roadside 100 yards from Beverley Community Hospital where the father delivered his own baby and later claimed he was told there was no-one from the hospital available to assist.
On the A64 birth in a lay-by, Mr Nattress, 32, said: “We are pretty miffed at being sent back home twice in one day. It’s difficult to process. I just think about what could have happened if anything had gone wrong. My wife works at a police station and we have heard about similar stories, so it was pretty traumatic but the paramedics were fantastic as was the first responder doctor.”
The couple, who also have a son, Callum, had twice gone to Scarborough Hospital earlier in the day but were turned away by midwives who believed Karen was only in the early stages of labour, even though by the second visit her waters had broken.
“If we had been at Malton Hospital, that would have been fine - but with us travelling up to 45 minutes a time, I just don’t know why we couldn’t have stayed around.”
Within an hour of arriving home, Karen’s contractions were arriving quickly and the couple then made their third dash for the hospital before fate then intervened.
Craig said: “The operator was talking it through we me really well then the crews turned up but I did think at one stage I was going to have to deliver her.
“Thankfully, everything worked out for the best and our daughter is healthy and my wife is fine. You just think what might have happened with all sorts of complications that can happen with a birth.”
A spokesman for the health trust said: “We are unable to comment directly on individual cases for reasons of confidentiality. The advice we give to women, in keeping with NICE guidance, recommends staying at home in early labour where evidence suggests a better chance of having a shorter and more positive birth experience. We offer advice and reassurance to women when seen in person in the hospital and by telephone to ensure women feel supported and safe at home. There will always be some incidence of women labouring rapidly and their babies being born quickly, however the Trust does not carry a high incidence of babies being born before arrival to hospital in comparison with other units in the region. Yorkshire Ambulance Service work closely with maternity services to attend women who feel their labour has progressed rapidly. All cases are individually reviewed to ensure continuous service improvement and learning for the service, we are very happy to discuss cases with the individual involved if approached.”