A baby girl died after multiple failures by Bay of Plenty DHB. Photo / 123rfA newborn girl died after a midwife failed to record a pregnant mum’s severe morning sickness and weight loss restricting her baby’s growth.
“They say that time heals all wounds, but I can say that the whnau will never ‘get over’ the passing of [their baby],” a family spokesperson said.
Today, a Government investigation has found Bay of Plenty District Health Board and its midwife in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights for multiple failures in the care of a woman and her baby.
The woman, who was in her 20s at the time, had a difficult pregnancy. She cannot be named for privacy reasons.
She lost weight and required multiple hospital admissions for severe morning sickness (hyperemesis), and her baby’s growth was restricted, the Health and Disability Commission (HDC) report said.
However, her midwife did not record the woman’s drop in weight or baby’s growth at every antenatal assessment and specialist doctors who took over the care later on in the pregnancy weren’t told.
The investigation found there was no formal management plan and no clear guidelines for staff to monitor the severe morning sickness and malnutrition.
When the baby was born, she was recognised as “at-risk” due to her low birth weight.
She was also administered a higher than recommended doses of anti-seizure medication.
Her condition deteriorated, and she was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she tragically passed away.
Deputy Commissioner Rose Wall said it was impossible to know whether the baby could have been saved but she was critical the DHB did not have adequate systems in place to support staff, including a requirement to develop comprehensive management plans in such complex cases.
“This extremely rare sequence of events for [the woman] and her whnau led to a tragic outcome for them with the loss of their baby,” Wall said.
A family spokesperson said in the report that the whnau would like assurance that this will not be the case for any future pregnant mothers who find themselves in that position.
They strongly reject that the mum did not take her diet seriously.
“[She] tried to eat well but this was near impossible because of the persistent vomiting that developed during her pregnancy. ”
“Her mental health through this period should have been taken into consideration, in particular the effects of being so unwell for such a long period of time,” the spokesperson said in the report.
“The whnau would like to reiterate that it was a lack of appropriate resources and procedures that caused this
The deputy commissioner recommended the DHB update a number of its policies and consider the need to provide appropriate cultural support in complex cases.
They were also ordered to provide a written apology to the woman.
The midwife was also told to provide an update on the Order Concerning Competence issued to her by the Midwifery Council of New Zealand.