Kylie posted this comment on my earlier post titled Another baby killed by a midwife:
Firstly I want to say how sorry I am for the Barlows and the grief they have suffered.
I believe my son was born 6 months ago to the same midwife from this clinic. The details are all the same, the initial carer going on sick leave and the replacement being her partner. I was apprehensive because she seemed so young, however, didn’t want to question her over her experience.
During my son’s birth my partner and I felt like she didn’t know what she was doing, for example, she had me push and then when she actually examined me afterwards realised I wasn’t even fully dilated. I seemed to answer all my own questions and it all felt quite despairing at times. Fortunately my body told me what to do, being a second birth and my son was born without complications.
If I had known about her previous birthing difficulties I would have definitely chosen somebody else.
I have no way of verifying the truth of this (no disrespect intended, Kylie), but it rings true to me and there would be little or nothing to gain from making up such a story.
Assuming that this story is true, it clearly shows a midwife who is out of her depth and exhibiting a stunning lack of knowledge and skill. This supports the widespread belief that the training of New Zealand midwives is completely inadequate for anything other than normal births (if that), and that many midwives are unwilling or unable to recognise when labour/birth is dangerous and requires specialist care.
Also, assuming that this is a true story about the same midwife, why was she delivering babies a few months after having killed one – and maimed the mother – by reason of gross incompetence? In my humble opinion her practicing certificate should have withdrawn immediately after the death of Adam Barlow (this would make it illegal for her to work as a midwife). Apparently we cannot trust those people who are supposed to police midwives and protect mothers and babies.
Note that Kylie says I was apprehensive because [the midwife] seemed so young, however, [I] didn’t want to question her over her experience. As I said in my earlier post
I do not wish to criticise Barlow, but assuming the competence of someone who has your life in their hands is dangerous. Ask someone how much experience they’ve had, and if they object to the question in any way run – don’t walk – away.
But wait, there’s more: an article on Stuff says
A midwife who initially cared for a Hamilton woman whose baby later died in a bungled delivery by a junior colleague had lost her practising certificate after being admitted to a drug and alcohol addiction clinic.
Inquiries by The Dominion Post have revealed the midwife was also the mentor of the junior midwife who later handled Linda Barlow’s delivery, which led to the death of her baby son, Adam, and nearly claimed her life.
Someone who is having problems with drugs (alcohol is a drug) is often experiencing some impairment all of the time, and obviously a person impaired by drugs is not fit to practice medicine.
This sort of thing occurs in all branches of medicine, however it does highlight one of the dangers of our present midwifery system, i.e. midwives are essentially operating autonomously. In a collegial situation, where there is extensive contact with colleagues and/or oversight, there is an opportunity for those colleagues to pick up on any issues such as misuse of drugs. Any medical person will tell you that working alone is dangerous and exhausting.
I believe that the fundamental problem here is government control of health care, because history shows that incompetent people only flourish in state-controlled situations. When you want your car fixed, you ask around and find the best mechanic: in a free market those who provide the best service thrive, and those who don’t go out of business. It should be the same in health care: just imagine being able to choose a midwife who had a qualification that you could trust (unlike the present, state-mandated qualification), and was regularly screened for personal problems that would affect her professional performance. This sounds good to me; what do you think?