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.