Registered Midwife, RM A 18HDC01578 is a report by the Health and Disability Commissioner (NZ) regarding labour management.
Ms B asked for pethidine. RM A drew up a syringe of either water or normal saline and told Ms D and RM C, a core midwife, that she was going to give Ms B some of the intravenous (IV) fluid via a syringe, but would tell Ms B that it was pethidine. RM A said she believed in the placebo effect. A total of 10ml saline was administered to Ms B over approximately 2.5 hours. Ms B continued to be in pain. RM A subsequently left and came back with real pethidine, which Ms D administered. The medication chart, signed by RM A, records that Ms B was administered 50mg of pethidine intramuscularly at 1.15pm. After Ms B left the hospital, RM A told her that she had not given her pethidine, and explained that the reason for this was for the safety of the baby.
The Commissioner took the view that it was Ms B’s right to make an informed choice about the pain relief she was to receive, and not to be given IV normal saline when she had not consented to this. Consequently, RM A breached Right 7(1) of the Code.
RM A will be referred to the Director of Proceedings in accordance with section 45(2)(f) of the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994, for the purpose of deciding whether any proceedings should be taken.