Midwife quits job after providing substandard care

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A midwife who has been found to have provided substandard care to a young mother has quit the profession.

The midwife was investigated by the Health and Disability Commissioner following a complaint from a 22-year-old woman about the care she received during labour.

The woman's child, which was delivered by urgent caesarean section in 2010, was born underweight and with respiratory distress.

The HDC, in findings released today, said the new mother began experiencing pain around 39 weeks and was told by her midwife it was normal and to take paracetamol and rest.

On her due date, the woman told her midwife she believed she was having contractions. However, the midwife examined her and told her she was not in labour.

Two days later she was examined again and told she was in early labour.

The following day the midwife started monitoring the unborn baby's heart rate, which she did not interpret as significantly abnormal, the HDC said.

It wasn't until an hour later when a second midwife, after being asked for her advice on a small amount of yellow-green discharge, discovered the child's heart rate scans were abnormal.

The HDC ruled that the midwife, whose name has been suppressed, breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights "in several respects".

As well as missing the abnormal test results, the HDC said the midwife also "should have monitored the fetal growth more closely" because the child's mother continued to smoke throughout her pregnancy and was subsequently at higher than normal risk of having an underweight baby.

"The woman also had a long period of latent labour and ... the midwife should have assessed her more thoroughly," the HDC said.

"The midwife also failed to document her antenatal care adequately."

The midwife was ordered to repeat an education program, however she told the HDC she had "decided to cease practising midwifery and will not be renewing her practising certificate".

She was ordered to write an apology to the mother.


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