A Macfarlanes lawyer was forbidden from attending his baby's birth because the hospital deemed him to be a coronavirus risk.

Mark Stephens was prohibited by the Tunbridge Wells hospital from attending his wife's birth of their second child because last week their 18-month-old daughter had a high temperature.

The lawyer told the Daily Mail he was "livid" with the hospital for barring him. Stephens said a GP's diagnosis was that their daughter did not have COVID-19 symptoms, and her raised temperature was "just something kids pick up in nursery". 

Stephens believed he didn't have any symptoms of COVID-19 either, other than a tickle in his throat last week. "I work in an office", he said a few days before the UK lockdown, "and when I had a bit of water I was fine. It was just air con".

"I don't think it's proportionate to start banning people from being at the birth of their child, without doing any tests", Stephens said, although he also acknowledged that the NHS was under stress in unprecedented circumstances.

Hazmat pic

Advisable outfit at any birth.

The father-to-be was also frustrated in his attempt to at least set up a video call from the operating theatre to support his wife.

"The safety of our staff, patients and especially new born babies is our number one priority, so like every other hospital we are following the expert guidance and asking anyone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus not to visit our hospitals or clinical areas," said a spokesperson for the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. "That’s why after being made aware by the family that they were self-isolating due to a member of the household displaying COVID-19 symptoms, the Trust made the difficult decision to ask Mr Stephens not to attend the birth".

Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 27 March 20 09:51

Some people cannot attend their grandparents' funerals. You just have to live with it for the time being. It will be a story to tell the next generation. They can call her Corinna...

Anon 27 March 20 10:07


There is clearly more information here than he is saying - the NHS says the family were self-isolation? Who is the GP - presumably a friend or family member, did they even see the child?

Bet he would have gone berserk if the woman in the bed next door was being accompanied by her possibly infectious husband. Just because you are a big cheese at work doesn't mean you are extra-special. It sucks, get over it. 

Anon 27 March 20 13:36

Anon @ 1007 You’re missing the point that if they were in self isolation, the wife was/is equally infectious. It’s a daft decision taken by the hospital.

Zombie Boris 27 March 20 14:22

Anon @ 13.36

The wife possibly being infectious is not the point. She's in labour, of course she'll be admitted into hospital. Daughter may have symptoms of COVID-19 so hospital can't take that risk. Husband may not have signs of COVID-19 so he stays in isolation with daughter at home.

This is a non-story.

Anonymous 27 March 20 16:18

This is Mark Stephens, after all. A man who is never backwards in being forwards.

Yes it's sad that he missed his child's birth but hospital workers have more important things to think about, including how tired they are and not catching a contagious and deadly disease.

Anon 29 March 20 18:32

“Some people cannot attend their grandparents' funerals. You just have to live with it for the time being. It will be a story to tell the next generation. They can call her Corinna...”

A very glib and childish comment.   

Lydia 29 March 20 18:50

He could have been present had they swapped to a home birth. My father delivered my sister at home for example. I don't think the Coronavirus Act or regulations made under it yet means you can remove women by force who are pregnant and if someone tried an emergency injunction from a judge could perhaps be obtained.

Libel Bint 30 March 20 08:33

@Lydia she was having a planned c-section, am not sure the NHS stretches to doing that on one's kitchen table even in normal circumstances.....

But I don't think he covers himself in any glory.

Jellymonster 30 March 20 10:46

no guts no glory.

Interesting to see that the GP had diagnosed - does he mean "she'd had a test and it was negative" - doubt it, but absent a test there's no way he'd be able to say for sure.


He does come across a bit like the black knight from Holy Grail "a throat infection?  tis just a tickle from the aircon!"

Anonymous 30 March 20 13:11

Life sucks.

These are tough times.


What is clear is that considerable numbers consider themselves to know better than medical professionals and seek exceptions not afforded to almost all of the public.

Arachnae 31 March 20 14:25

He needs to get a life. Some people's relatives are going into hospital with Covid 19 and they never get to see them again. He should thank God and the NHS staff for the happy, healthy outcome.

Anonymous 01 April 20 11:04

To be clear, this is not meeja slash human rights lawyer Mark Stephens CBE of Howard Kennedy who is probably too superannuated to be procreating...

Anonymous 01 April 20 22:59

It's true that some people are going through terrible times, but it's not always necessary to have the worst possible outcome because of that. I hope all viable alternatives were considered.

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