A GRIEVING mother is suing the health service after a blunder at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary led to her baby's death.
Wendy Owen, 38, lost her daughter, Molly, four days after her birth in June, 2002, after the baby's brain was starved of oxygen.
Hospital staff were thinly stretched on the night of Molly's birth because of a road accident.
And Mrs Owen, of Clough Lane, Rastrick, was left for too long before an emergency caesarean operation was performed.
Mrs Owen said today: "I just feel total anger.
"I went into hospital with a perfectly healthy baby. This should not have happened.
"If a caesarean had taken place two hours earlier, everything would have been fine."
Mrs Owen has two children, Shaun, 18, from a previous marriage, and Leanne, who was three at the time of the tragedy.
Mrs Owen was two weeks overdue with the birth of Molly, when she was admitted to the Infirmary on June 9, 2002.
The birth was induced and she began to experience regular contractions by 8pm.
Mrs Owen had earlier asked for an epidural pain killer to be injected into the spine, but she and husband, Gary, 35, were left in a room on their own, with no midwife.
A junior doctor told Mrs Owen she could not have an epidural because no anaesthetist was available, because they were treating road accident victims.
Molly's heart rate began to drop and her brain became starved of oxygen.
But no action was taken, although hospital records showed that Molly was in distress.
An emergency caesarean was eventually performed at 2.44am.
But by that time Molly had suffered massive brain damage and was taken to the special care baby unit and put on a ventilator.
Doctors had to fight for two hours to stop Mrs Owen from bleeding.
Four days later the couple agreed to have Molly's ventilator switched off.
They held her for five minutes, then Molly died in her mother's arms.
Full-time mum Mrs Owensaid: "All Molly's distress was recorded. They should have got me down for a caesarean at midnight.
"My husband was left outside for three hours, not knowing the condition of his daughter or me, because I was haemorrhaging."
The couple immediately activated the hospital's complaints procedure, then launched legal action last April, after the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust admitted liability. A financial settlement is expected in the next few months.
Mr and Mrs Owen have been unsuccessful in their attempts for another child.
A statement from the trust said: "The trust would like to reiterate its apologies for the events that took place in June, 2002, and hope that the legal claim will soon be resolved."