Midwife fails to diagnose labour

  • 27/07/2015
Midwife fails to diagnose labour

A midwife who didn't recognise a patient was in preterm labour has been reprimanded for failing to give the woman reasonable care.

The pregnant woman presented at hospital with what she believed to be labour pains, but the on-duty midwife assessed it was only a urinary tract infection.

She was asked to provide a urine sample and was sent home without being examined for preterm labour.

When the woman returned to the hospital later that evening complaining of lower abdominal pain, her earlier tests revealed she had an infection.

The doctor whom examined her sent her home a second time with antibiotics.

On her second visit, she again was not given a speculum examination.

Later that evening, an ambulance delivered the woman to the hospital as the pain got worse and the midwife who initially assessed her was contacted.

An on-call obstetrician at a nearby hospital was called and the woman was transferred there after delays in arranging an ambulance.

During the delay, the woman still was not checked for preterm labour.

The baby was born the next morning but did not survive due to complications associated with extreme prematurity.

Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill reprimanded the midwife in his report today, saying the similarities between a urinary tract infection and preterm labour should have prompted her to undertake a thorough assessment.

Mr Hill said the midwife failed to assess the woman's symptoms critically, and she did not give sufficient consideration to the possibility the pregnant woman was in labour.

The midwife has given the woman a written apology and has been forced to undertake a workshop on documentation and has been recommended to undertake additional training relating to preterm labour.