Human Rights Review Tribunal  NZHRRT 5 (27 February 2015)
A declaration was made by consent between the parties that Ms Thomson breached Right 4(1),(2) and (4) of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights for midwifery care she provided to Ms B. Ms B was 16 years old and pregnant with her first child at the time. Ms Thomson did not develop a sufficient birth plan with Ms B and failed to provide her with adequate information about the labour process and caring for a new-born.
On 15 January 2012, Ms Thomson was telephoned five times between 5.29am and 6.27am by Ms B, Mr B and Mr B's mother informing her that Ms B was in established labour. Ms Thomson did not come to Ms B's assistance until after the fifth phone call, when Ms B could feel the baby's head. When Ms Thomson arrived, Ms B had given birth to the baby on the bathroom floor.
Following the birth, Ms Thomson assessed Ms B and informed her that she had a first degree perineal tear. She advised Ms B to keep her legs together and change her pads frequently. When Ms B experienced dizzy spells and hot flushes Ms Thomson advised Ms B to keep up fluid intake and lie down to feed but did not refer Ms B to a medical practitioner or hospital for examination and assessment.
Ms B experienced pain in her perineum to the extent that she could barely walk in the weeks following the birth. Ms Thomson recorded on multiple occasions in the postnatal midwifery notes that Ms B was experiencing pain from the tear. Ms Thomson gave Ms B Voltaren and antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection but did not refer Ms B to a medical practitioner or take swabs of Ms B's perineum before prescribing antibiotics. When an obstetrician assessed Ms B's perineum later, Ms B was noted to have a second degree tear, requiring surgery and intravenous antibiotics.
Ms Thomson failed to adequately respond to Ms B's request for assistance with breastfeeding. She did not discus with Ms B how or how often to breastfeed after the birth. Ms Thomson informed Ms B that pain was normal and advised Ms B to watch the breastfeeding DVD she had earlier provided.
Ms Thomson also failed to appropriately document her care of Ms B.
The Tribunal's full decision can be found at https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/2015-NZHRRT-5-Director-of-Proceedings-v-Thomson.pdf
Last reviewed February 2019