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Call to investigate attempt to remove baby from hospital

Call for investigation over attempt to remove baby from hospital
Anusha Bradley, Hawke's Bay Reporter

An attempt to remove a baby from a teenage mother at Hawke's Bay Hospital last week needs to be investigated independently, a health board member says.

Hawke's Bay District Health Board member Jacoby Poulain is calling for an independent investigation into an attempt to remove a baby from its mother at Hawke's Bay Hospital last week. Photo: SUPPLIED

The hospital was put into lockdown after a stand-off between midwives, social workers and police, as they tried to take a newborn baby from its 19-year-old mother due to family violence concerns.

The baby was eventually allowed to remain with its mother under a care plan originally put together by her midwives and whānau.

Hawke's Bay District Health Board member Jacoby Poulain said she was concerned about how the incident was handled by all agencies.

Ms Poulain said she believed the hospital failed in its duty of care to look after the young mother.

"The midwives were locked out and effectively the patient was separated from her midwives at such a crucial time," Ms Poulain said.

"That is potentially a denial of her rights as a patient to access medical care. If that did happen, something is fundamentally wrong with that situation."

District health boards should have a greater say in child welfare matters, she said.

"It's not merely a matter between Oranga Tamariki and the whānau in terms of uplifts occurring at hospitals, but actually the health system is a crucial part of these matters."

Ms Poulain has written to health board chairperson Kevin Atkinson requesting his support for an independent investigation into the incident and allegations of racism and bullying of midwives at the hospital.

The Ombudsman would be the best agency to carry out such as investigation, given the number of public agencies involved, Ms Poulain said.

Hawke's Bay District Health Board has been contacted for comment.

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