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Midwife Failed To View Ultrasound Scans

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 failings in her care of a woman during pregnancy.

The woman was pregnant with her first child when she was provided antenatal care by the self-employed registered midwife who was in her first year of practice.

The midwife failed to read the results of two ultrasound scans. Despite the woman repeatedly requesting information from the midwife about these reports, she was met with unfulfilled promises or silence from the midwife.

The Deputy Commissioner was critical of the midwife’s failure to read and follow up on the woman’s scan results, particularly when she was on notice of a potential concern with the fetus’s size.

"Viewing and following up on the results of tests they have ordered is a basic requirement of any health professional," Ms Wall said.

"This report highlights the importance of communication between a woman and her lead maternity carer, and of junior midwives recognising their limitations and ensuring their caseload is appropriate for their experience."

Ms Wall noted that the midwife has reflected on these events and decided to cease lead maternity carer work, and has provided a written apology to the woman.

Ms Wall also recommended that should the midwife recommence lead maternity carer work in future that she receive all scan and laboratory reports electronically; set up a shared system of electronic notes for midwives in the practice; introduce a system of "tasks to do", either electronically, through a diary, or in notebook form; and introduce sharing of tasks or a system of delegating tasks to a colleague/practice partner.

The full report on case 19HDC01820 is available on the HDC website.

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