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to complain about midwife (internal/assault)

(274 Posts)
Hensinthehedgerow Wed 31-Jul-13 14:41:17

I'm sorry if this is in the wrong section. I'm in search of some opinions. This may not sound like much to complain about to some people. But this has really affected me and my marriage and I can't seem to move on.

In summary, I had a birth plan, it said no internal examinations and everything done needs to be explained to me. I thought she was doing an external examination, but instead did an internal which was very painful and basically in public view after my husband had been sent out of the room. I wish I had kicked her in the head and screamed and called the police, but I was holding my newborn baby and didn't hmm I want to cry, I can't sleep.

I raised these issues with the som who said it shouldn't have happened an that she would speak to the midwives. Then emailed me to say the midwives agreed more communication would have been helpful to me wft

I have no idea if making a formal complaint will help. But can't let this go. Aibu to complain. The midwives were horrible and essentially bullied my husband. I guess it's wwyd? Sorry for the ramble.

Leverette Sat 03-Aug-13 21:34:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

confuddledDOTcom Sat 03-Aug-13 21:34:26

LaGuardia - would you say that if she was talking about rape? And yes, it is the same thing. Would you tell a soldier he was being precious he hadn't been injured like his friend? Same thing too.

I agree, Wheresmycaffeinedrip, if you're expecting someone to look, you're not going to keep your legs closed.

RedToothBrush Sat 03-Aug-13 21:49:49

LaGuardia Sat 03-Aug-13 21:00:48
OP, without sounding crass, if you opened your legs to let the midwife examine you, then you did give your consent. I take it she didn't force your knees apart? You have no case. Stop being so precious.

No, she did not give her consent. She had a written statement which stated she did not consent to internal examinations. If the OP was to change her mind then a discussion would need to take place in order for consent to be valid - opening her legs would not constitute giving consent in these circumstances as this was not clear that the OP had reversed her decision; she had merely opened her legs for inspection elsewhere.

I suggest you read my above post.

She is not being precious. She had a reasonable expectation that the midwife would observe and respect her wishes not to have an internal examination. The midwife broke that trust. Therefore, the midwife has broken the expected level of basic professional conduct. She has also assaulted the OP.

It is not trivial and you belittling the OP and trying to silence her is crass at best.

Every person who is treated without respect for their dignity, wishes and rights being respected should be supported in complaining as it is the only way to improve care.


RedToothBrush Sat 03-Aug-13 21:55:15

Oh and La Guardia, you did sound utterly crass.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Sat 03-Aug-13 22:01:15

Crass is putting it lightly. What she said was unforgivable tbh. Nasty as hell and extremely hurtful for the op and others on this thread to read.

confuddledDOTcom Sat 03-Aug-13 22:06:05

I forgot to mention, I wish I had kicked the staff who dragged my legs into the stirrups. Their bruises would have healed quicker than I did. It took me 6 weeks before I could do a poo (I was in hospital that time with them giving me laxatives to try and shift it) and every time I sat on the toilet I felt like an egg being cracked on a bowl. I could barely walk without my sticks whereas normally I can do short distances I couldn't even cross the room.

UnevenTan Sun 04-Aug-13 00:31:40

Good to know that there are potential trainee midwives (and registered nurses) whose grasp of these fundamental principles is so tenuous and dismissive of patients' rights and opinions hmm.

HouseAtreides Sun 04-Aug-13 00:40:05

When I had DS last year my MW checked it was ok every time she touched me, before she even put a hand on my back or moved my leg. She was thoroughly professional and kind throughout. I hope you find some resolution OP.

Leverette Sun 04-Aug-13 11:27:38

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

aurynne Sun 04-Aug-13 12:14:24

Hensinthehedgerow, I am a second-year student midwife, studying in New Zealand, and first of all I would like to apologise in the name of every midwife and assure you that your feelings are absolutely valid, and that what happened to you was absolutely wrong. The midwife acted in an unprofessional way and needs to be called on it. She will benefit from going through an informed consent-informed choice course.

Second, I will try to give you some information so you know what should have happened to you. If you gave birth to your baby (congratulations, by the way smile in the water without pain relief, the first thing I must say if a big WELL DONE to you, what a fantastic way to welcome your baby to this world! After birth, especially when the midwife has not had a clear vision of your perineum, it is necessary to perform a perineal examination of the internal vaginal wall, labia, perineal surface and anus to check for possible damage, in the shape of grazes and/or tear, and if there is any bleeding, to ascertain the origin of this bleeding. The midwife should have explained this to you, and also told you that, after birth, that area is particularly sensitive, and often this examination is painful. After the explanation, she should have asked whether you understood, whether you had any questions (and answer them appropriately), and asked if you consented to the procedure. Only if you say "yes" then she should offer you the use of gas&air (Entonox) if you wanted, and ask you whether you were happy with your partner in the room or you'd prefer to be alone. Then she should prepare a sterile pair of gloves and some gauze and do the procedure, reassuring you that she will immediately stop if you ask her to. After the procedure is finished, she should have explained to you what she found, and how she is going to follow up.

During our studies, informed consent and choice are literally drilled into us, and yes, performing a procedure without consent, even if it's just taking a blood pressure, IS assault. Being in a hurry of understaffed is NO excuse.

I do encourage you to complain, and I personally recommend you to ask for a meeting with the midwife so amends can be made, and so you can express to her exactly how her actions made you feel.

I hope you recover from this as soon as possible and can move on and enjoy your baby smile

Meerkatwhiskers Sun 04-Aug-13 12:50:37

Sorry I shouldn't have put about the shortness of staff bit in there. It was very insensitive of me. I apologise.

I still have a lot to learn so I am taking all your comments on board. I do feel very passionate about midwifery though and so jumped up to defend the profession without thinking it through too much. So again apologies for my insensitiveness.

I am still not sure that the midwife should be sack but that is your call not mine. You are the one that is emotionally involved and who this happened too and obviously we do not all know the whole story as it's only what is portrayed on an internet forum.

I hope that you are able to get a suitable resolution that makes you happy and able to recover from your birth experience.

Congratulations on your baby xx

RedToothBrush Sun 04-Aug-13 18:54:27

aurynne, whilst I applaud you for your post and the sentiment with which you mean it, I do have to pick you up on one important point in what you say.

Whilst this might seem petty, in the context of this thread it needs to be stressed and pointed out. The language you use is critical to how a patient understands you and whether she feels able to make a totally free decision.

You said "it is necessary to perform". This is an absolute phrase. It is not 'necessary'; it is 'advisable'.

The difference is that one allows the option to refuse whilst the other is a closed phrase that makes it more difficult for a patient to understand they have an option. Whilst it might not be sensible to refuse, it is also a patients right to and they should still feel free to.

aurynne Mon 05-Aug-13 05:41:13

RedToothBrush, you are absolutely right, thanks for the clarification smile

TVTonight Mon 05-Aug-13 06:51:28

Firstly OP, congratulations on thw safw arrival pf tour baby and sorry that the MW has put rather a cloud know this has moved on a bit and perhaps OP has been in contact with PALS but I am genuinely confused about what the OP wants to happen post-complaint.
From her posts it seems she wants:
a) The midwife arrested and a night in the cells with criminal investigation.
b) Midwife certainly sacked and an example made of.
c) Some other physical/mental/verbal kick in the head to be delivered
d) SOM under scrutiny too for whitewash.

I'm also confused about whether the OP feels what happened was malicious or 'merely' thoughtless.

My advice (post- my own medical complaint) is to really think hard about what would put this to rest for her. If for example a face to face apology were be sufficient I would ask for that because it will get resolved much more quickly than an opened ended "Call the Police" assault claim.

TVTonight Mon 05-Aug-13 06:54:01

Sorry first para should read

Firstly OP, congratulations on the safe arrival of your baby and sorry that the MW has put rather a cloud on it.

I know things may have moved on a bit and perhaps OP has been in contact with PALS but I am genuinely confused about what the OP wants to happen post-complaint.

Ficklefrancis Mon 05-Aug-13 08:18:00

I too put in my birth plan that I only wanted to be examined at the beginning and not again unless it was a medical emergency. I was examined once and that was it! I had a home water birth and was left to my own devices while my body did the most natural thing in the world.
What that midwife did was wrong, and its left to emotionally scarred so you need to complain and make sure you are heard. You need to see your GP so it's on record that you need counselling and so that they know you are serious about your awful experience.
So sorry such an awful thing happened at a time that was meant to be so special for you and your DH. Hopefully you'll get it sorted and be able to put it behind you.

gordyslovesheep Mon 05-Aug-13 08:42:06

OP I am sorry you have been through this - please do complain - it can make a difference.

The MW who's vile attitude towards me almost cost my second child her life is no longer working on the labour ward because I and other women complained - and I feel happy with that outcome

Do look up the Birth Trauma Ass for support

I am not suprised to see a few odd people seeking to minimise the OP's anger - sadly there will always be people who play down abuse

confuddledDOTcom Mon 05-Aug-13 17:14:43

TV, the chances of any of that are happening are none existent and the police aren't going to be interested. At the moment we're not in a place where it could happen. Staff need to think "consent" be taught "consent" and be in an attitude where they know if they don't have consent they can be in serious trouble before any laws are any use. As RedToothBrush and aurynne have just proven, it's not quite there. We're not going to get there unless women complain.

ICBINEG Mon 05-Aug-13 17:20:02

OMG what is wrong with these people who keep blowing through these threads victim blaming and telling people they need to put up with whatever HCP do to them???

I just can't imagine what is going through peoples minds to tell some one who is feeling violated and vulnerable that they 'asked for it'.

They didn't. They really really didn't.

confuddledDOTcom Mon 05-Aug-13 20:15:20

Exactly, ICBINEG!

However you feel about your experiences or think you would feel about someone else's is irrelevant, they are the one that experienced and felt it. I don't feel like I gave birth to two of my children because I had a GA, other women do feel like they did but I would never tell them they didn't because it's their experience to label how they need to.

Hensinthehedgerow Thu 08-Aug-13 13:47:45

Has anyone formally complained and had a satisfactory outcome?

organiccarrotcake Thu 08-Aug-13 14:08:43

OP, this would be a useful (free) publication for you. Please give AIMS a ring too.

organiccarrotcake Thu 08-Aug-13 19:13:22

Doctors recommended that women lie their babies face down to sleep, as a result thousands died. In the 1970s the majority of women had a routine episiotomy as the baby was being born. No doubt many of those women were subjected to what was later shown to be a largely unnecessary intervention, and those women who followed the advice to lay their babies face down felt that 'they would not do it unless they needed to'. Sadly, many of the procedures that are undertaken, even today, have little or no evidence to support their use and routine internal examinations is one of them.

organiccarrotcake Thu 08-Aug-13 19:13:54

(that was in response to earlier posts saying that the MW wouldn't have done it if it wasn't necessary)

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