Midwifery Council fails parents

The Herald reports:

A teenager remembers being excited while getting rushed to hospital to give birth, not knowing her precious baby girl was already dead.

“We had prepped her room and everything … we couldn’t wait to share her with our big whānau,” the grieving woman says in a Health and Disability Commission (HDC) report released today.

Two years after losing their daughter, the teen couple have today won an apology from a midwife for failing to properly monitor their daughter’s growth during pregnancy and request suitable testing.

The couple, their whānau and the midwife have not been identified in the report citing privacy reasons.

An investigation by the country’s health watchdog revealed the midwife had not measured the fundal height at every visit. The fundal height is a measure of the size of the uterus used to assess fetal growth and development during pregnancy.

In the woman’s final weeks of her pregnancy, the woman developed severe swelling, headaches and elevated blood pressure.

In this situation, a midwife is meant to request a pre-eclampsia blood test and a urine analysis at each visit, but that did not happen.

So the midwife didn’t measure fetal growth or do any blood or urine tests.

When the woman was in labour, the midwife assessed her condition by telephone but didn’t recommend an in-person assessment, although it was warranted, the HDC report said.

She was then rushed to hospital.

The baby was delivered more than 14 hours after a specialist confirmed she did not have a heartbeat and had died.

An obstetrician documented that his impression was that the baby had probably died several days prior because of pre-eclampsia, the HDC report said.

This story is sad enough, but here is the part that makes me mad.

Before the HDC investigation findings, a review of the midwife’s care was conducted by the Midwifery Council of New Zealand (MCNZ). It found that while documentation was “brief at times”, the midwife had “met her professional responsibilities”.

The Midwifery Council once again shows it is more interested in protecting bad midwives, than upholding standards.

There’s a reason we’ve gone with an obstetrician for our maternity care. Not because there aren’t many great midwives. Hell, probably 95% of midwives do an amazing job.

But the Midwifery Council time and time again does not hold to account the say 5% who don’t do an amazing job, and don’t call for medical interventions when they are necessary.

You should not have the HDC coming to vastly different findings than the Midwifery Council.

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