A midwife criticised by a coroner for consulting a woman by text message has told the Midwifery Council she is no longer practising.
The Hawke's Bay midwife, whose name was suppressed by coroner Chris Devonport, told The Dominion Post on Wednesday that she was still practising.
But following the publication of the coroner's findings yesterday the council's chief executive, Sharron Cole, called the midwife to discuss the situation.
"The council takes a very dim view of midwives practising without a practising certificate," Ms Cole said. "The council has zero tolerance for that."
The midwife had not held a practising certificate since April 1.
Ms Cole was assured by the midwife that she had not been practising since then.
The midwife's services are still advertised on her website.
Last night she released a statement via a lawyer, saying she had not been struck off or prevented from renewing her practising certificate but she had not been practising as a midwife while on recent maternity leave.
Inquiries to her website had been referred to a backup midwife, the statement said.
The coroner's findings criticised the midwife for giving a diagnosis by text message instead of visiting the 38 weeks' pregnant woman, who said she had suffered a heavy loss of bloody fluid.
The midwife also did not take the woman to hospital early enough after she suffered heavy bleeding. When they eventually arrived at Hawke's Bay Hospital, the registrar said she would assess the woman once she had finished her lunch.
A baby boy was delivered by emergency caesarean in poor condition, with no obvious heartbeat and not breathing. He died about 13 hours later.
The doctor was criticised by the coroner for failing to read a foetal heart monitor correctly and for choosing to stay at lunch instead of tending to the woman. She is now practising in Auckland after her contract with Hawke's Bay Hospital was not renewed.
Ms Cole said the midwife had been through a competence programme after the event in June last year. The midwife would need to undergo a recertification programme to practise again.
Ms Cole had not seen the coroner's report until yesterday.
She said the council did not take issue with the findings but when a midwife took a woman into secondary care "she's got the right to believe she will have qualified and suitably competent secondary obstetric staff who actually take transfer seriously".
"For a doctor to say ‘I didn't get the urgency message' and ‘I'm just going to finish my meal' . . . that's pretty disgraceful," Ms Cole said.
She would not comment on the issue of name suppression but said, "there is a tendency to hound health professionals, and certainly midwives, whose names have been made public. That doesn't sit well with fairness and rehabilitation".
Another midwife whose name was published had recently gone into hiding after receiving death threats.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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