A student who had no idea she was pregnant until she gave birth in a hospital toilet has welcomed her ‘miracle’ baby – but says her GP let her down.
Lalene Malik was rushed to A&E at Northwick Park Hospital by her family after suffering an excruciating stomach ache at home in Greenford, west London, on March 26.
The 23-year-old, who said she had been prescribed the contraceptive pill five months earlier and had taken two negative pregnancy tests in February, believed she must be constipated.
But her mother, Sumra, felt that something was wrong when her daughter began crying in pain after going to the hospital bathroom while waiting to be seen, and sounded the alarm with nearby doctors.
Lalene was about to flush when she spotted baby Mohammed Ibrahim’s tiny arm dangling in the bowl of the toilet. At this point she became terrified that her and her son’s lives were in danger.
She believes the baby may have been stuck for up to seven minutes before he was rescued by medics.
‘I was gone,’ she says. ‘My mind was blank. I was put in another room because obviously I was crying and my mum was crying. It was a complete shock and a trauma for both of us and I felt that my life was in danger.
‘(My mum) started crying and said to me: “Don’t you know you have a baby?” From then on I was pale.’
Doctors who retrieved the baby said he ‘looked lifeless’ and was not breathing, but thankfully their resuscitation efforts were successful.
Dr Ewa Grocholski, who helped to save Ibrahim by giving him chest compressions after getting him out of the bowl, said it was the ‘most amazing experience of my medical career.’
‘Luckily we caught it in time,’ she adds. ‘I’ve never seen a baby be born in such circumstances.
‘I’ve seen young ladies like Lalene before coming to A&E not knowing they’re pregnant and delivering in the A&E department, but it was always in a more safe place. It was on a bed or it was slower, so we would have noticed they were giving birth before it was happening.’
Ibrahim was born full-term and is now healthy after he was given oxygen and monitored carefully by hospital staff.
Lalene has described her son as a ‘miracle’ baby but accused her family doctor of failing to carry out tests which could have revealed she was pregnant.
‘If I had known I was pregnant, I would have cherished those moments going shopping, getting stuff ready for the baby,’ she says.
Her husband was abroad at the time and in complete shock when he learned of the birth, Lalene added.
The student, who is taking a masters in international relations at Roehampton University, said she had not been planning on having a child and had taken the pill from October to January after it was prescribed by a doctor.
She said she returned to her GP a number of times after experiencing symptoms including weight gain and a shortness of breath, and had stopped taking the contraception.
She says she was given a blood test in March, but was later told it had been botched and the results were unavailable.
‘I called back three days later and they said “oh, we can’t detect anything because the one who took the blood test didn’t shake it properly, so come back three to six months later”,’ she explains.
Lalene adds: ‘It’s a blessing and I’m happy for the baby, but honestly the surgery should have said something because I told them I was married and I wanted to progress with my masters.’
She said she is determined to complete her university course, but has had to defer until July to look after little Ibrahim.
The Elm Trees surgery has said Ms Malik’s experience falls below its expected standards of care and the matter will be investigated.
The practice said in a statement: ‘We are very sorry to learn of Ms Malik’s experience, this falls below the standards of care we expect from our services. Please be assured that this matter will be fully investigated.’
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