Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tragic suicide of a New Midwife after she wrongly thought she was to blame for baby's death | Mail Online

What a sad, tragic loss of a beautiful, enthusiastic young woman on the start of her midwifery journey.



Theresa Naish's despair and her distraught response to the sad and distressing loss of a baby following an obviously precipitate labour and birth of an 'at risk' baby raises so many questions about how this hospital runs, how information is shared, how problems are flagged so staff are aware of potential problems and how new staff members and junior staff members are treated. How is it that this baby's situation wasn't 'known' by all the seniors on duty? How is it that a well articulated plan for the birth of this baby wasn't given a high priority? How is that the plans and needs for this baby weren't clearly documented/flagged so that everyone could immediately see, from the notes, that the baby was 'at risk'?

From this statement:

'She did amazingly well to get the mother to the labour ward as quickly as she did".

it would seem the mother was on the antenatal ward when Theresa came on duty. Theresa clearly noted the woman was in labour and took her to the Birthing suite.

This disturbing event illuminates our responsibilities in health care to ensure that our staff are well supported by processes and structures that facilitate appropriate communication of any woman/fetus/baby needs and presenting problems. 

Theresa's death is a stark reminder that when adverse events occur in health care, as they do, that the staff who were involved in the situation and the families of the afflicted person need, deserve and must get the best possible support to help them negotiate and deal with the emotions that rage after such an event.

Theresa's suicide indicates that she had a caring and sensitive nature and was distressed at feeling responsible for the baby's death. I sometimes hear midwives say things like "I couldn't live with myself if I did anything wrong". Midwives who say things like that are the sensitive, caring, respectful, gentle souls whose passion is palpable. Theresa perhaps felt like that.

Midwifery is mostly about joy and happiness. Occasionally our work involves tragedy. When there is a a distressing event, we have to do more to prevent another tragedy like Theresa's suicide. We can't afford to lose bright, sensitive, caring midwives like Theresa.

King's College Hospital would be examining their processes to improve them. We all need to learn from Theresa so her death is not in vain.

Sincere condolences to Theresa's parents, sister, relatives and friends. Sincere condolences to the mother and relatives of the little baby.  Words are never easy and never enough at these sad times, but please know that people's hearts are with you.

Midwife hangs herself after she wrongly thought she was to blame for baby's death | Mail Online

1 comment:

InfoMidwife said...

how very very sad.......we do need to care more for our staff and ensure that they are supported rather than point the finger..... I hope the lessons are learned so that this never happens again....condolences to all.