Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A Midwife for Every Woman: Open Letter by one of Philomena's Clients, 38wks pregnant, to the HSE - Re: failures to date.

Open Letter by one of Philomena's Clients, 38wks pregnant, to HSE - Re: failures to date. #isupportphilomenacanning #Midwife4EveryWoman #WomenFirst

One of the women who was booked in with Philomena Canning has written this brave, honest, open letter and asked AIMSI to publish it on our page based on her experiences with the HSE to date, on trying to access a replacement midwife, the failures she has encountered thus far, and th...e blatant disregard for patient safety. The woman has asked for her name to be included but to remove identifiable references of the replacement midwife.

We feel this letter highlights the failures of the HSE to provide these 25 women with appropriate care solutions following the removal of Philomena Canning's indemnity.

Dear Ms Clarke,

Further to our conversation yesterday I wish to clarify some details of my care.

You called me yesterday to inform me that you had sourced me a midwife, and that this midwife was immediately available to me for the duration of my pregnancy. This is something I clarified with you again when you arrived to my home to drop off a home birth pack.

I have since spoken to the midwife (name provided) which you said was available to me.

On our first phone call (Midwife's name) did not know who I was, had never heard of me and was very apologetic that she couldn’t take me on as a client. As I am sure you can understand, this was very distressing for me. On a later phone call with (Midwife's name) she thought perhaps a mistake had been made and she had been given a wrong name and she could attend to me up until the 20thth October when she is due to go on night duty.

I am 100% completely dissatisfied with this ‘solution’ to the unlawful removal of my midwife Philomena Canning. The replacement midwife cannot provide me with continuity of care, as she is not available for the full duration of the 37-42 week window. This is completely unsafe and puts myself and my baby in danger. You told me yesterday that if I went into labour I could call this midwife and she would come to me. Again completely unsafe, as I have never met this woman, she has never met me and I still don’t have any prescription for the emergency drugs needed if I have a PPH. If I went into labour and followed your advice then the HSE would be liable for the bad management of my care should something go wrong. Furthermore, as per your own protocol under the heading ‘Issues to be discussed in pregnancy’, as I have not had a visit from any SECM midwife in more than four weeks, the following have not been discussed with me.

- Monitoring in Labour
- Third Stage Management
- PPH/Shoulder Dystocia
- Vitamin K
- PKU test
- Preparation for Breastfeeding
- When to Call

In fact, none of these issues have been discussed.

This is YOUR protocol and yet You are not following it.

Just to reiterate the facts here.

I have not had an antenatal appointment with a SECM midwife in 4 weeks and 2 days.

Your own protocol has not been followed with regards to Issues to be discussed during pregnancy.

You have assigned me a midwife who is not available for the duration of my pregnancy.

This midwife is taking clients on under duress.

This midwife is not as experienced in homebirth as Ms Canning.

This midwife does not know me or has ever met me to date.

You have advised me to call this midwife should I go in to labour. Which could be today.

Some other issues I would like to clarify. The replacement midwife is not trained in water birth and is not as experienced in homebirth as Ms. Canning due to her only taking on approximately six clients per year and also due to the fact that she is in employment at the (names an Irish maternity unit). This again in my opinion is unsafe. In order for a homebirth to take place there must be a build-up of trust and care between the midwife and client. This has not happened here. In fact, even though I spoke to the midwife yesterday, no antenatal appointment has been organised at all.

I find it extremely distressing that you have removed my midwife at this stage of my pregnancy, I am now entering my 38th week. I find it absolutely unacceptable that you are using the removal of insurance against Ms Canning and yet expect (Midwife's name) to take on the responsibility of my care, which would break many of the rules of the memorandum of understanding. You are creating an environment that would leave both myself and (Midwife's name) vulnerable. (Midwife's name) vulnerable to the removal of insurance in similar circumstances to Ms Canning, and myself vulnerable to an unsafe birth and dangerous outcome if a homebirth were to go ahead under these circumstances.

Lastly, I want to make it very clear, that should I decide to take the HSE up on its ludicrous offer of a midwife that appears to be unavailable. Should anything adverse happen to me or my baby, I will be holding the HSE fully liable.


Lesleyann Wylie
Kilpedder, Co. Wicklow.

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