Midwifes Medical Negligence Results in Ban

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The Law Of... failing to care

A midwife, whose medical negligence contributed to the death of a 9 day old baby, has been struck off.

The Law Of... failing to care

Daxa Patel, a Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Partner with Simpson Millar, looks at how every parent's worst nightmare was allowed to happen due to a catastrophic failure in duty of care.

9 Short Days

Child A was born in the October of 2008 at the Furness General Hospital, Cumbria. Tragically, just 9 days later the baby was dead, having contracted pneumococcal septicaemia and suffered a lung haemorrhage.

During those 9 short days, there had been opportunity to diagnose and treat the newborn, possibly saving its life, but these were missed due to the errors made by the midwife.

It was this negligence, on the part of herself and a colleague (currently suspended), that led to Child A losing a 'significant chance of survival'.

Catalogue Of Failings

The failings the midwife was accused of, resulting in her ban by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), included:

  • Failing to tell a paediatrician that Child A had a low temperature
  • Failing to ensure observations were made at the recommended intervals following birth
  • Taking matters into her own hands and placing the baby in a warming cot
  • Displaying a 'profound and sustained lack of insight' and a 'distinct lack of remorse' for her actions
  • Demonstrating an attitude and behaviour that fell well below the standards expected of a registered midwife

The banned midwife wasn't alone in her negligence, with a number from the same trust undergoing investigation and facing hearings for malpractice.

Not Fit For Purpose

The ban comes after a long battle by the newborn's parents to have the midwife disciplined, with Child A's father blasting the Nursing and Midwifery Council:

"The facts regarding [the] death have not changed in the seven plus years since […] That it has taken the NMC this long to investigate and take action is a shocking indictment of an organisation that clearly isn't fit for the purpose."

Daxa comments:

"It is good to see the Nursing and Midwifery council has now taken firm steps to stop this person from practising as a nurse, but it will offer little comfort to the child's parents, who have been waiting for justice for some 7 years."

"Aside from the standard of care falling well below acceptable standards – which in itself is extremely serious – there was also the issue raised regarding the midwife's attitude."

"Parents of sick babies and children are already 'vulnerable' and effectively in the hands of the medical professionals tasked with caring for their offspring. It is hard enough for them to get their heads around the fact that their child is poorly and may not survive."

"The disregard shown by the midwife in this tragic case does absolutely nothing for the vast majority of nurses who offer exemplary service and genuinely care for their patients."


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