Here we go again! The hounds have been let loose. It's hunting season again and midwives are the quarry.
Death of a baby
A baby has died in Wellington following a breech (bottom first) birth. I am truly sorry to hear about it and my heart goes out to the parents.
Knee jerk reaction
But I get so fed up with the knee jerk reactions by both politicians and the media. One death compared to more than 50,000 live births in a year and all midwives are incompetent, murdering health professionals according to some. An immediate inquiry has been announced by politicians, ignoring the fact that there are official channels for investigating incidents such as this.
Response from the Midwifery Council of New Zealand
Sally Pairman has released a statement from Midwifery Council which sums things up really well:
There is no evidence to support claims made by public health physician Ate Moala through the media yesterday. This use of anecdote and generalisation is inappropriate and serves only to unnecessarily undermine midwives and public confidence in midwifery and maternity services.
Dr Pairman goes on to say:
There are a number of processes available for proper investigation of complaints about midwives whether these are raised by women, by other practitioners or by DHBs. The interface between the Health and Disability Commissioner’s Office and the Midwifery Council is robust. Where there is evidence gained through a fair and transparent process that a midwife has indeed fallen short of expected standards then that midwife is held to account. Processes that ensure natural justice and transparency for all parties are the appropriate way to deal with concerns about individual practitioners and about the maternity service as a whole.
I am not advocating that midwives should not take responsibility for their mistakes, but just for once I'd love to hear a positive story in the press and midwives actually get thanked for all the long hours and hard work they put into supporting women and their families during childbirth.
A thankless job?
When we get bashed like this in the press without any justification, I must ask is it any wonder midwives are leaving the profession and we cannot attract young women to take their place?
I'm all for letting Ate Moala and her like get on with it and see if she can do better: be on call for 24 hours a day, day in and day out; work for hours on end to ensure women are supported to achieve all that they wish; miss special family events like birthdays and Christmas because she is putting someone else's family before her own; carry the responsibility not just for the time of birth but for years after wards...shall I go on?!
A great maternity service
Again, from the press release from the Midwifery Council of New Zealand:
The public of New Zealand should be justifiably proud of our midwifery and maternity services. The perinatal mortality rate is similar to that of the UK and Australia and the neonatal mortality rate is lower than both. The vast majority of women continue to have safe and positive birth experiences and healthy babies.
How do you feel about health professionals when you see and hear stories of their alleged mistakes in the press?