News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Care and information provided to a pregnant woman

Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall today released a report finding a midwife in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights (the Code) for the care provided to a pregnant woman. Ms Wall’s investigation focused on the woman’s decisions around the birth of her baby, and the information she received and understood, when making those decisions.

"It is essential that women receive full and balanced information about risks and care options," Ms Wall said.

At 32 weeks’ gestation, the woman transferred care to the midwife as her lead maternity carer to have a home birth, with a "Plan B" for a hospital birth or a Caesarean section if necessary.

At 41+1 weeks’ gestation the midwife noted the baby’s growth had slowed, which indicated the need for obstetric consultation and an ultrasound scan. While a scan was offered, Ms Wall found that the midwife failed to communicate effectively that this offer was made because the baby’s growth had slowed. Further, Ms Wall found that the midwife failed to follow the actions set out in the Ministry of Health Referral Guidelines when her recommendation for a scan was declined.

Ms Wall also found that the midwife failed to provide the woman with adequate antenatal notes during her pregnancy.

When labour at home did not progress, the midwife offered a transfer to hospital but also referred to the on-call obstetrician at the hospital as "Mr Slice and Dice". Ms Wall found that the midwife failed to communicate effectively that the transfer was recommended due to concerns about slow progress in labour and that by referring to the obstetrician as "Mr Slice and Dice", she created doubts in the woman’s mind and tainted the interactions she went on to have with him.

The woman was eventually taken to hospital however it was unclear when the woman’s care was handed over from the midwife to the hospital, and Ms Wall was concerned about both the midwife and the hospital’s role in this lack of clarity.

At the hospital, the obstetrician found that the baby was likely in deep transverse arrest and recommended a Caesarean section. Ms Wall found that at this point, the midwife did not communicate clearly that she supported a Caesarean section and explain the reasons for this. Later, the midwife documented that the CTG was "really reassuring", and told the woman that the baby was "ok" when the CTG actually showed that the baby was in distress. Furthermore, the midwife provided this information to the woman without interpreting the CTG herself.

A Caesarean section was eventually consented to. The baby was born in poor condition and required significant resuscitation.

Ms Wall recommended that the midwife apologise to the family. She also recommended that the Midwifery Council consider whether any further review of the midwife’s competence was warranted; and advise HDC when the midwife’s supervision concluded and how she had addressed their concerns about her competence. Ms Wall recommended that the District Health Board review its maternity protocol for the Transfer of Clinical Responsibility from Primary to Secondary Care and advise whether any further improvements could be made.

The full report for case 16HDC01065 is available on the HDC website.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Facebook Announces New Changes: Combating Hate And Extremism

Some of these changes predate the tragic terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, but that attack, and the global response to it in the form of the Christchurch Call to Action, has strongly influenced the recent updates to our policies and their enforcement. More>>

Amazon Confirms: Lord Of The Rings Series To Shoot In NZ

Amazon Studios announced today that its series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings will shoot in New Zealand. Pre-production has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. More>>


Birds: Dunedin's Bells Ring As City Celebrates Its Albatross

The city's churches, schools and public buildings bells would chime in unison from 1pm, in what has been a long-standing tradition marking the return of the birds - and a farewell to this season's albatross chicks. More>>

Oscar Buzz: Waititi's Jojo Rabbit Wins People's Choice Award At Toronto

Taika Waititi's new film Jojo Rabbit has nabbed the coveted Grolsch People's Choice Award at the close of Toronto International Film Festival. More>>


Broken Estate: An Expat Expert Surveys Our Media

Melanie Bunce cut her teeth in journalism at the Otago Daily Times. Now she teaches and researches it at one of the UK’s most prestigious journalism schools and tracks the trends that shape the uncertain future of news... More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland