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Dad angered by hospital's ban on relatives carrying out procedure; Isn't it my right to cut my baby's umbilical cord?

Byline: LIZ LAMB

A FATHER is demanding hospital chiefs reverse a decision that bans fathers from cutting the umbilical cord of their newborn babies.

Nick Bird, 38, was outraged when he was told he would not be able to cut the cord of the baby he is expecting with partner Julie Traill, 25, in November.

He believes South Tyneside Hospital is the only NHS Trust in the country that has a policy banning family members from taking part in the procedure. It was introduced 10 years ago after an accident in which a baby was hurt when a family member cut the cord.

Mr Bird, who has two children from his first marriage, said: "Apparently a grandmother cut a baby's toe when she cut the umbilical cord.

"This is important to me. It is part of the bonding process for a father to cut their child's umbilical cord. I could not cut the cord of my first two children because they were born by Caesarean and this is probably the last time I will get the chance.

"They told us we are welcome to go elsewhere but we want to go to South Tyneside Hospital as it has a birthing pool.

"I have even asked if I could cut it if the cord is clamped by a midwife, but they said no and I have offered to sign a legal disclaimer but they have said no.

"It is a big issue for me. I have not been able to sleep and have been to the doctor's. I don't think a lot of fathers in the area know that this policy is in place.

"Julie has had a difficult pregnancy and suffered with muscle pains and we want to use the birthing pool.

"The support and help we have received from the midwives and doctors has been first class.

"I don't want to change hospitals because of the care we have got. It is just this one issue."

Mr Bird, who runs an internet business, is expecting his first child with Julie, a former singer, of South Shields, on November 11.

He has set up a petition on website thepetititionsite.com asking for support to get the hospital to review its policy and has received more than 100 signatures so far.

He said: "You only have to look at the comments to see how important it is for dads to cut the umbilical cord of their own baby."

David Shilton, executive director of nursing and clinical governance at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, said the chief executive Lorraine Lambert had raised the issue at a board meeting last week.

He said: "Our first duty of care is for the baby and the mother.

"The policy was introduced after a tragic event. Any damage to a child is serious.

"There was a meeting for another reason but the chief executive took the opportunity to canvass it to members who agreed to continue with the policy as it stood.

"Mr Bird and his partner have the opportunity to go somewhere else if they feel that strongly."

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CAPTION(S):

DIAPPOINTMENT: Nick Bird and Julie Taill. Mr Bird believes cutting the cord is an important of the bonding process
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 23, 2007
Words:538
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