Student first to deliver baby at Liskeard Community Hospital

Photo courtesy of The Cornish Times: Lucy Bray (first left), Sharon Free (third left) with the Hicks family and Liskeard Community Hospital team

A midwifery student at the University of Plymouth has become the first person to deliver a baby at Liskeard Community Hospital. 

Final-year student Sharon Free was on placement with University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHPNT) and was in Liskeard on 15 March for a post-natal clinic. 

The hospital is mainly for rehabilitation and minor injuries, and does not have a delivery suite.

But when Louise and her partner Ian drove into the car park at around 1pm, Sharon and her mentor Lucy Bray were called into action – and following a quick examination in the car park, delivered baby Affiah Bella at 1.30pm.

Sharon said: 

“The first thing I thought was ‘I need gloves’! It was lucky we were there because on community placements we could easily have been out doing a home visit. Of course it’s nerve-wracking but as a midwife you just never know what’s going to come at you, so it’s really important to keep calm, and it all happened really quickly. Louise was on her way to Derriford but knew she wasn’t going to make it so pulled in here. I have no doubt that had they not stopped at Liskeard, that little baby would have been born in a car on the A38. It’s my 21st delivery, that I can count, and it was definitely a memorable one.” 

Lucy Bray, Sharon’s placement mentor and integrated midwife at UHPNT, said: 

“It was certainly a surprise but brilliant experience for Sharon, and she handled it so professionally. When a baby is ready to be delivered, we have to act quickly and safely, and thanks to Sharon, a delivery kit in my car, and a room in Liskeard Hospital, it was as stress free as possible.”

Sharon continued: 

“What made the day even more emotional was that I also saw the first ever baby I’d delivered – as they were the older sibling of a baby who came to be weighed in the afternoon clinic! I’m really passionate about women’s health and helping to ensure mother and baby have the best treatment possible, so am definitely looking forward to midwifery as a career.” 

Dr Ali James, Programme Lead for BSc (Hons) Pre-Registration Midwifery, said: 

“Our students get exposure to real-life conditions very early on their course, enabling them to gain confidence and be at their very best when different situations arise. Sharon did a wonderful job, and we’re very proud of all of our students who are training to support families and bring new life into the world.”

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