Case reports come into their own when they report aspects of routine clinical practice that all doctors can easily relate to. This case report describes an episode of apnoea in a newborn baby handed to his mother after delivery.
The baby suffers cardiorespiratory arrest, is resuscitated and taken to the neonatal ICU. Thankfully, after recovery, the baby is discharged from hospital and we read that he is progressing well.
Most doctors can think of an unexpected complication or misadventure that occured in a clinical setting where, up until that point, everything seemed to be going well. The report of this case highlights that rare but potentially fatal events can occur in the most innocuous of environments and that where risk is not mitigated (it seems natural that a newborn baby should be handed to his mother and be embraced) how promptly complications are recognised and how well they are dealt with is crucial to outcome.
The situation is described well enough for anyone of us to imagine that we might have been there – and indeed it could, and does, happen to us all – but we learn our own and each others experience.