Phone-lit search for tot lost in birthing pool blackout

Callum Livie used his phone to find Braedan after Samantha Preedy gave birth

A FATHER has told how he used the light from a mobile to search for his newborn son after he disappeared in a birthing pool during a power cut.

Braedan Livie was under water for up to two minutes after he was “lost” during the birthing pool delivery in pitch darkness caused by a winter storm.

His quick-thinking father, Callum, 26, pulled out his smartphone and used its torch app to help midwives search for the newborn, who was pulled clear none the worse for his ordeal.

Braedan’s mother, Samantha Preedy, 28, recovering at home in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, said today: “Let’s just say he’s really glad he downloaded that torch for his iPhone.”

The drama unfolded at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on December 8 as some of the most ferocious storms in living memory lashed Scotland.

The firm that runs non-clinical services at the ERI, Consort, is to be fined up to £100,000 after back-up systems failed, leaving the maternity unit without light or power for 11 minutes.

Mr Livie said he was just relieved his son was safe, despite his dramatic entrance into the world.

Recalling the moment the blackout struck, he said: “I came in and couldn’t see anything. I could just hear Sam saying he’s in here somewhere.

“I pulled my phone out and I could see where he was, and shouted to the midwives to grab him. It was a bit of a shock.

“He might have been under for a minute or two, it all happened so fast it was hard to tell. Nobody could believe how it happened. But I’m just over the moon that the wee man made it OK.

“I’d used the app a few times when I’m trying to find stuff in my van, but I never thought I’d have to use it to help deliver my own son. I really would have been snookered without it.”


Ms Preedy ended up giving birth by herself after the midwife left to find out what had happened to the lights.

The mum-of-five discovered the baby had the umbilical cord wrapped round his neck but was able to unwind it to stop Braedan choking.

But the tiny newborn slipped under the water and could not be found, forcing the new father to illuminate the pool while midwives rescued the child from the depths.

She said: “It’s lucky I’m not a first-time mum or it would have been completely different. I’ve had four other babies and so I knew what to do.”

“The midwives were more shocked than I was. I got the cord unwrapped from around his neck, but the force of him coming out, I lost him in the pool.

“Callum came in and I shouted ‘I’ve dropped him, he’s in the pool and you need to find him’.

Hospital official said there had been “minor interference” in the system which had prevented the back-up generators kicking in.

Staff were able to keep A&E, intensive care and theatres open using emergency batteries but the rest of the hospital was left in the dark.

Fortunately, Braedan did not develop any complications and was able to return home three hours later and meet his siblings, Aaron, three, T-Jay, five, Alisha, seven and Teegan, eight.

Ms Preedy said her parents, Christine and Gordon Bourhill, were astonished at the dramatic chain of events but were delighted with their new grandson.

She said: “My mum couldn’t believe it, it was so dramatic. It’s Braedan’s own wee story.”

Ms Preedy, who had her four other children with her previous husband, laid the blame for the fiasco with the company running the hospital, and did not blame the medical staff. She added: “We were told about the generators, how they should have kicked in when the power went off.”