Commissioner: Midwife's care not up to scratch

A midwife has been criticised for her care of a 30-year-old woman who ended up having her first baby by emergency caesarian.

Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill said, in a decision issued today, the midwife failed to recognise and do the right thing when her client became unwell late in the pregnancy.

The woman had become ill with vomiting 37 weeks into her first pregnancy.

She made contact with her independent lead maternity carer midwife at least twice in two days regarding her symptoms but the midwife did not take any action.

A doctor considered the woman had signs of pre-eclampsia and sent her for urgent blood tests, which indicated the diagnosis and the baby had to be quickly delivered prematurely by emergency caesarean section under a general anaesthetic.

Mr Hill said the midwife failed to recognise, and react in an appropriate fashion to, her client's ongoing symptoms. Nor did her documentation comply with professional standards.

He recommended that the midwife review her practice in light of expert opinion and the competence programme set down by the Midwifery Council. He said she should report back to him on her learnings in relation to the APEC (Action on Pre-eclampsia) study day and changes to her practice by January 28.

- NZPA

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