Supporting Families, Preventing Tragedies


Near Miss


Thursday, 1 May 2008

I feel like a bit of a fraud as I have a healthy baby, but I very nearly lost him. I believe that there are many ‘near misses’ every day.

My water’s broke about 11pm last May, and there was meconium in the waters. I rang my midwife, but she didn’t believe me about the meconium. I rang her again 1/2 hr later to insist that there was meconium, but she dismissed the issue. She told me to ring back when contractions 5 mins apart. She never came to examine me.

When I rang her at the 5 min mark I complained of a lot of pain. She told me to have a bath and ring back when 3 minutes apart.

Here’s the problem; I was never going to get to 3 minutes apart, because something was wrong. It was the middle of the night, and I’m pretty sure that if I’d followed her instructions she would not have rung me back in time to save baby.

By 4am I’d had enough. My husband rang the midwife and told her we were going to hospital.

She got there around 4.30 and found that I wasn’t dilating. The obstetrician got involved at that point, and the anesthetist- as I was advised (luckily) to have an epidural. Then they discovered that baby was in distress and the heart rate dropped right down. I was run down the hall for an emergency cesarean section.

They had to go ahead with me just having had an epidural and were ready to knock me out if it got too painful. They had 4 minutes to get him out.

Max was born at 7am – alive – due to Christchurch hospital staff, and no thanks to my midwife who would have left me unexamined at home until god knows when (after 7am anyway I bet!) The cord was wrapped around Max’s neck and he was strangling with every contraction.

The midwife never discussed the birth with me, never gave me a chance to give feedback. I found out about the feedback forms from the College of Midwives, and filled one of those out. It’s not disciplinary, but should give her a shake up having to talk about it in her next review.

I never complained to the Health and Disability Commissioner, partly because I would feel guilty getting someone in trouble!!

The midwife continues to practice.


Red Flags

        RED FLAGS

  • Lack of monitoring
  • “Normalising” the abnormal
  • Lack of action/delay in getting emergency care
  • Going over due date
  • Failure to progress in labour
  • Meconium-stained liquor (waters)
  • Lengthy handover during emergency
  • Inconsistent reporting and documentation
  • Your concerns being ignored

    Click here to read more about common warning signs


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