A student who had no idea she was pregnant has given birth to her “miracle” baby in a hospital toilet – despite having two negative pregnancy tests the month before.
Lalene Malik and her family have welcomed her surprise newborn as a “blessing”, but she criticised her GP for allegedly missing chances to spot she was a mum-to-be.
When Ms Malik suffered excruciating stomach ache at her home in west London on 26 March, her family rushed her to A&E to see what was wrong.
The 23-year-old thought she was constipated but her mother Sumra had an “intuition” that something was wrong.
‘It was a complete shock and a trauma for both of us’
In the bathroom at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, north-west London, Ms Malik was about to flush when baby Mohammed Ibrahim’s tiny arm was spotted in the bowl, leaving her terrified that she and her son’s lives were in danger.
“I was gone. My mind was blank. I was put in another room because obviously I was crying and my mum was crying,” she said.
“It was a complete shock and a trauma for both of us and I felt that my life was in danger.”
Ms Malik believes her son may have been stuck for up to seven minutes before he was rescued by medics.
Doctors who retrieved the baby said he “looked lifeless” and was not breathing, but thankfully resuscitation efforts were successful.
Doctor praises mum as ‘hero’
Dr Ewa Grocholski, who helped to save the baby’s life by giving him chest compressions, said it was the “most amazing experience of (her) medical career”.
“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.”
Dr Grocholski praised Ms Malik as a “hero” and said it was “incredible” she had gone through labour despite having no prior knowledge of the pregnancy.
‘If I had known I was pregnant, I would have cherished those moments’
Ms Malik, who said she had had two negative pregnancy tests in February, described her son as a “miracle” baby and praised doctors and nurses at the hospital for their efforts in getting him healthy.
However she accused her family doctor, Elm Trees surgery in Greenford, of failing to carry out tests properly 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 said.
Her husband was abroad at the time and in “complete shock” when he learned of the birth, Ms Malik added.
She said she returned to her GP a number of times after experiencing symptoms including weight gain and a shortness of breath.
Ms Malik said she was given a blood test at the surgery in March but was later told it had been botched and the results were unavailable.
She said: “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’.”
Two weeks later, her son was born.
The Elm Trees surgery has said Ms Malik’s experience falls below its expected standards of care and the matter will be investigated.
It 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.”