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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Investigation Reveals New Zealand Midwife’s Inadequate Response to Women

Investigation Reveals New Zealand Midwife’s Inadequate Response to Women in Labour


A Strained Cry for Help:

A New Zealand Woman’s Distress Call Neglected In a shocking revelation, an investigation by the Health and Disability Commission (HDC) of New Zealand unearths a severe breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights by a midwife who took a staggering 17 hours to respond to a woman in distress, in the throes of her first labor.

This incident, originally reported in 2019, resurfaced on Monday as the HDC released its investigative report findings. The event unfurled with a woman, in her 20s, at the cusp of full term and home alone, desperately reaching out to her midwife seeking guidance for her contracting pains.

A Frightening Tale of Inadequate Medical Assistance

As an unforeseen chain of events began to unfold, the midwife assessed the woman’s situation through text messages, but astonishingly, didn’t make an appearance until 17 hours later, at which point the woman was on the verge of giving birth.

Desperate and terrified, the woman had started to bleed, crying for an ambulance and begging for pain relief.  Amidst constant calls and texts, she agonizingly found no indication of the midwife arriving anytime soon.

“No patient should ever have to beg for care,” the woman’s sister-in-law later reported to HDC. The incident illuminates a blatant disregard for timely medical intervention and patient comfort.

A Miraculous Outcome Amidst Chaos

Despite the harrowing experience, the woman eventually delivered a healthy baby boy vaginally, although complications arose postpartum.

The woman’s ordeal didn’t end with the birth; her plea for care was met with a nonchalant response, resulting in an overall unsettling and traumatic experience.

Deputy Commissioner Rose Wall acknowledged that the failures primarily involved the midwife’s inability to provide appropriate information, communication about labor progression, or the necessary pain relief options.

Serious Breach of Health Care Rights

The midwife was found to have violated Right 4 (1) and Right 4 (2) of the Code by not delivering services, support, or the necessary information the woman was entitled to during her labor and the immediate 24 hours following the delivery.

The lack of relevant documentation was another aspect where the midwife fell short. The Deputy Commissioner emphasized, “The woman did not receive the standard of midwifery care, support, and information she was entitled to.”

In the wake of the investigation, the midwife, currently not practicing, reported having completed a record-keeping course and moving towards a more sustainable working arrangement.

A written apology was recommended for the woman, along with the suggestion that the Midwifery Council should consider these findings if the midwife intends to resume practice.

A Lesson for Future

This unfortunate incident underscores the critical importance of midwives providing individualized care in partnership with women and maintaining adequate documentation.

The event serves as a cautionary tale for the healthcare industry about the urgency of taking patients’ pleas seriously and responding with immediate care.

Echoes of Neglect Resonate in Healthcare Community


The midwife’s lackadaisical attitude towards the frantic pleas of a woman in labor is deeply unsettling, leaving a blemish on the landscape of New Zealand’s healthcare services.

The ordeal the woman experienced is a wake-up call for the entire healthcare sector about the urgency of compassionate and prompt care.

Beyond the Duty of Care

In the face of imminent childbirth, the woman’s pleas for assistance met a wall of inadequate response. The emotional distress, amplified by the absence of professional help, exacerbated the woman’s condition.

The case serves as a stark reminder that healthcare professionals should extend their duty beyond mere medical assistance – emotional support and timely reassurance are equally vital, especially for expectant mothers facing the challenges of labor.

A Pervasive Need for Better Care


Such incidents put a glaring spotlight on the larger issue at hand – the need for improved healthcare services for pregnant women in New Zealand.

The experience narrated by the woman is far from isolated; many women across the country struggle to access the care they need during their pregnancies and childbirth.

The incident has sparked conversations around the urgency for reform. The Midwifery Council, in particular, must revisit its standards and protocols to prevent such incidents in the future.

Transparency and Accountability – The Road Ahead

Deputy Commissioner Rose Wall’s response to the incident indicates a strong commitment to maintaining the integrity of the healthcare sector. The demand for a written apology from the midwife not only addresses the woman’s grievances but also signifies a sense of accountability.

In response to this episode, the midwife has reportedly taken strides toward better practice management. Her actions reflect a constructive approach to self-improvement and signal a promising step towards a more responsible future in midwifery.

Conclusion: Never Again


The traumatic ordeal experienced by the woman underscores the healthcare system’s responsibility to prioritize timely and effective patient care.

This incident serves as a crucial reminder that healthcare extends beyond technical expertise; empathy, timely response, and emotional support are equally crucial.

It’s hoped that such an incident won’t repeat itself, and the experience will serve as a lesson for the healthcare community.

For more details, you may refer to the original source.

For further insights into healthcare rights and regulations in New Zealand, please visit the

Health and Disability Commissioner website.

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