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Midwife struck off for giving aromatherapy to women

(21 Posts)
AnarchyAunt Fri 07-Aug-09 19:25:33


3littlefrogs Fri 07-Aug-09 19:31:22

She was extremely irresponsible to offer this treatment on NHS premises, and even more so to leave the mixture with the woman without giving her clear instructions - the fact that the woman drank the stuff is extremely worrying.

I am a qualified nurse, midwife and complementary therapist, and I wouldn't do this. She should have known she was risking her job and her registration.

3littlefrogs Fri 07-Aug-09 19:32:09

Mind you - there is every chance that what is written in the press is wildly innaccurate...........

TotalChaos Fri 07-Aug-09 19:38:02

I didn't realise that aromatherapy as pain relief in labour was so controversial, as my local hospital (Liverpool Women's Hospital) apparently offers it as a pain relief option.

Having said that, given she knew it was forbidden, and that she was so lax in carrying out the treatment (would have expected the oil to be applied), can see things careerwise went rather pearshaped...

edam Sat 08-Aug-09 09:06:42

I can see the problem, given this midwife had already been warned. But wtf was the woman thinking? Why did she drink the oils?

PeachyLaPeche Sat 08-Aug-09 09:20:35

I had armatherapy with ds2's birth, and despite being a 40+ hour posterior presentation delivery it was by far my happiest delivery

However, the MW's at the unit (Weston) were trained, it was supervised and was part of the hospital policy.

This is really about breaching supervisory advice and being a bit of a loose canon, no?

edam Sat 08-Aug-09 09:22:26

Yes, Peachy, but also about a very daft patient!

PeachyLaPeche Sat 08-Aug-09 09:28:24

Oh God yes indeed- what was that about!!!! Bet it was tasty too hmm

(in fairness though in you're going to completely misunderstand something and do something really silly, when you are labour is possibly one of the more understandable times?)

TotalChaos Sat 08-Aug-09 09:30:33

possibly she might have been used to rescue remedy type things that you do take orally (dropper on tongue iirc)

PeachyLaPeche Sat 08-Aug-09 09:36:43

Bach flower remedies? that would make sense, mind you I always thought they worked mainly for tasting of brandy wink

msled Sat 08-Aug-09 09:37:09

I think the poisons unit was a bit of an overreaction! The real problem seems to be that the woman was warned not to do this, and ignored the instruction.

PeachyLaPeche Sat 08-Aug-09 09:39:06

Poisons unit is standar4d, its where they keep the database for anything like that, long time sionce I nursed but for anything out of the usual you palced a call as basic procedure

msled Sat 08-Aug-09 09:39:52

It sounds so drastic - I mean none of the ingredients are even toxic. Bet it tasted nasty though!

beanieb Sat 08-Aug-09 09:40:20

"there is every chance that what is written in the press is wildly innaccurate" not with the BBC there isn't. She clearly ignored warnings and advice not to practice aromatheripy on her patients.

Longtalljosie Sat 08-Aug-09 11:02:15

It's reporting a hearing, so all the evidence mentioned in the article will have been presented. I agree the crucial thing is she was told to stop doing it, and carried on anyway.

edam Sat 08-Aug-09 11:08:14

Peachy - yes, fair point about being in labour is not terribly conducive to rational behaviour. Still don't think I've have swallowed essential oils, but then, I was too busy shouting 'FUCK' at the top of my voice and grabbing the gas and air. grin

Contacting the poisons unit was entirely sensible - would have been reprehensible if they hadn't. It's just what happens if a patient has ingested something that is not meant for human consumption.

mears Sat 08-Aug-09 11:13:37

I am a bit surprised in that some units do have aromatherapy offered to them by trained midwives. However, the organisation this midwife worked for did not support aromatherapy use therefore she was in breach of her contract.
It has to be said, there is something far wrong when the woman drank it! This will have put back the armoatherapy cause of midwives trying to introduce a service in their own units.

edam Sat 08-Aug-09 11:16:37

Maybe the NMC thought she should have supervised the use of oils? Although how the hell anyone could have anticipated that someone would drink essential oils I do not know.

claireybee Sat 08-Aug-09 11:29:01

Peachy I had ds in Weston too and it was so lovely to be offered essential oils, especially the lavender and chamomile blend I had in the bath afterwards smile Just being offered them made me feel so much more relaxed.

abraid Sat 08-Aug-09 11:34:31

I had lavender oil 11 years ago at a big university hospital when I was in labour. Nothing new about this.

It really helped.

I think the woman's husband told her to drink it. Perhaps he wasn't an English-speaker or misunderstood and thought it was medicine or something.

funtimewincies Sat 08-Aug-09 19:54:16

This is my local Health Authority and, regardless of details of this particular case, we're still in the Dark Ages with regards to any 'alternative' pain relief.

Home births have a very low takeup (usually only happens by accident when an ambulance fails to arrive in time), the attitude is quite medicalised (you have to fight your corner not to be strapped to a bed with some MWs) and if you uttered the phrase 'midwife-led birthing centre' you'd be burnt as a witch hmm!

Maybe the patient was high on gas and air, but you'd like to think that nobody would be dense enough to drink it!

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