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I complained about my midwife - and guess who just phoned to 'transfer my care'?

(32 Posts)
YanknCock Fri 19-Jun-09 13:07:51

Wow, I'm still shaking. I really hate confrontation, even over the phone!

If you're on the discussions about high BMI/blood pressure or the Aug 09 antenatal club, you'll know my litany of complaints about this midwife I've had for the last 5-6 months, reposted here:

1. On meeting me, no knowledge of my history (3 years of TTC + 1 miscarriage), asked me if I'd consider having a termination because I was upset about being sick (was suffering from antenatal depression).

2. Completely ill at ease with mental health issues--thinks depressed=stupid.

3. Annoying and patronising in all appointments.

4. Tried to put me off NCT classes despite complaining about my social isolation. ('They'll expect you to give birth on a single puff of gas and air and will make you feel like a failure if you don't')

5. Essentially told DH he wasn't welcome at NHS antenatal classes ('Now I'm not trying to put you off, but we do worry the group might not "gel"....I guess you can come to the first one and we'll see how it goes')

6. And the final straw....took my blood pressure with standard size cuff, despite my protestations that I need a large size due to big arms, and standard size will give false high BP. Told me it didn't matter. GP and NHS guidelines disagree!! Was 140/70 with wrong cuff, but a few days later at GP was 110/70 with appropriate cuff. Grrrrrrr.

So last week I phoned the community supervisor of midwives and said I didn't want to see her anymore. I was prepared to suck it up and put a lot of it down to personality clashes, but the blood pressure thing really pissed me off! I was quite upset and in tears, especially about the 'termination' suggestion, so thought they understood I REALLY wanted no more to do with this midwife.

Then just a few minutes ago, I get a withheld number calling on my mobile, and who should it be, but the same midwife! Completely threw me for a minute, but I suddenly felt quite angry, though I managed to sound fairly calm (I think). As she started blathering on, I broke in and said, 'I'm sorry, but I thought I'd asked not to deal with you anymore, I'm not sure why you're the one calling me'. Then decided since she was on the phone I might as well detail for her exactly WHY I was so pissed off!

Basically re: the BP she wouldn't admit she did anything wrong. I told her she'd 'dismissed my concerns about false high BP readings' and her response was 'I'm sorry you've interpreted it that way', to which I said, 'I haven't INTERPRETED anything, you were WRONG, and all the NHS guidance and 20 years of research shows you were WRONG!' Then she said, 'Well your BP wasn't high anyway' to which I said 'it was 140/70, and at the GP's WITH THE PROPER CUFF it was 110/70!'

I continued 'and you tried to put my husband off coming to NHS antenatal classes. If you wanted a 'women only' class, you should have advertised it as such. Frankly I don't give a crap if your class "gels", I want my husband and birth partner to be there with me and get the information we both need!'

And finished off with 'As long as you're on the phone, I'll tell you that I thought what you said to me at our first meeting was so inappropriate---I'd spent 3 years trying to have a baby, had a recent miscarriage, and you suggested a termination because I was having a rough time with my pregnancy!'

She kept doing that thing where people say they are sorry, but you know they aren't, because it's phrased so carefully, as in 'I'm sorry YOU'RE upset'. I told her I was thinking of making a complaint--I'd been okay with letting it all go because I just never wanted to deal with her again---now am rethinking.

I think I am going to phone the supervisor's office and let them know I'm a bit unhappy that they had her make this call. I mean if I went far enough to request a new midwife and told them all those problems, wouldn't you think they'd realise she's the LAST person in the world I'd want to hear from?

Feeling slightly calmer now....

<breathes deeply>

and unclench jaw...and relax.....

belgo Fri 19-Jun-09 13:14:32

Well done you. What a tricky situation they put you in. It was totally unprofessional for the midwife to phone you, and you should let them know it, in writing and by phone.

melissa75 Fri 19-Jun-09 13:15:45

good for you for being honest with her and telling her your feelings. I think that it is important to tell the person to their face, whether that be in person or over the phone so to speak as opposed to going around it by talking to other people expecting them to tell the "culprit". None of us enjoy confrontation, but it gives you a great deal of confidence when you know you can stand up for your rights and beleifs.
Well done you!!

maria1665 Fri 19-Jun-09 13:17:55

How awful. Well done for asking to be moved. Her reaction confirms your earlier concerns. Really unprofessional.

staylucky Fri 19-Jun-09 13:18:21

Wow, she sounds like a horror!

It really wasn't approriate that she called you but perhaps it was for the best that you got to lay it all out to her exactly why you were upset with her? Hope you get sorted and they give you a better replacement.

MrsHappy Fri 19-Jun-09 13:18:56

Blimey. My BP would be high after all of that lot. You have done the right thing though - you shouldn't have had to deal with her and now you won't. It will be much better for you to be cared for by someone who you trust than someone you really dislike. And if you get a rep for being the difficult one I reckon they might just put someone great on your case!

playftseforme Fri 19-Jun-09 13:20:08

and at least you won't have to deal with her again, hurrah

FabBakerGirlIsBack Fri 19-Jun-09 13:21:43

What did she phone you for?

YanknCock Fri 19-Jun-09 13:27:00

She was phoning to tell me she'd 'transferred my care'. The appointment I had scheduled with her for next Weds will be the other midwife (who I've met before and like), and then afterward I'll be going to another MW who runs a clinic a bit farther from home.

It just seemed odd that they got her to phone me, she'd obviously had to talk to the person at the supervisor's office who took my call last week---and that person said they'd organise things and phone me back, never indicated I should expect one final phone call from this MW.

TBH, I'm not sure if I would have handled it any better if I'd been expecting it...the anticipation might have made it worse.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Fri 19-Jun-09 13:30:13

Just forget about her now and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

One midwife refused to look after me when she asked me what I wanted and I said for her to make sure everything was okay. I had refused to have the same midwife as I had had previous as she was neglectful imo.

neenztwinz Fri 19-Jun-09 13:33:03

Well done for standing up to her. She shouldn't have phoned you, she put you in a really difficult position. You did the right thing asking to be transferred, no point having horrid antenatal appts for the rest of your pregnancy just to save her feelings.

JackBauer Fri 19-Jun-09 13:34:27


<<makes note never to piss YanknCock off>>

Deemented Fri 19-Jun-09 13:47:40

Well done you!!! Bet you feel all empowered now, even though a little shaky. If it were me i'd seriously consider putting in a complaintagainst her.

GetOrfMoiLand Fri 19-Jun-09 13:52:48

It seems completely and utterly pointless for her to call you. Talk about wind you up.

And I know exactly what you mean when people apologise but don't mean a bloody word of it, all silkily spoken and wishy-washy, but making you feel like a fool for having complained.

Hope your next MW is better after all this aggro.

Shame I can't advise you to go and have a relaxing glass of vino grin

Hawkmoth Fri 19-Jun-09 14:02:18

Well done. I think you should consider writing to the supervisor of midwifery... but only because I can only muster THAT much balls in writing!!!

Comewhinewithme Fri 19-Jun-09 14:06:14

Well done . wish I had the balls to stand up to my MW who I am sure has had a negative affect on my first few weeks with DD.

Luckily I got a student MW for the last 2 months of PG but the stuff my first MW did still make me feel like shit .

ilovemydogandmrobama Fri 19-Jun-09 14:08:59

My blood pressure is high now reading that! Some midwives are used to telling women what to do.

But let it go. Complaining isn't going to change anything as you've been able to transfer care.

alana39 Fri 19-Jun-09 14:10:20

Well done, sounds like you have actually managed to do the kind of thing I would only be able to do in my head 10 minutes after hanging up! What a shame you've had to put up with it for months. Hope you can enjoy the rest of your pregnancy now this is over with.

Longtalljosie Fri 19-Jun-09 14:49:40

Do you know what, I bet there was no need for her to call you at all, she was just narky that your care had been transferred. I think calling you under those circumstances is totally unprofessional, so yes you should complain.

That said - it's easier said than done. I had an appalling experience with a midwife and I was so upset I couldn't bring myself to complain because I didn't want to relive it - and furthermore after it happened she asked to "just see me again just before I went" and then sat me down and gave me a totally bogus version of events, so I know what she'd say if I did complain and am not sure I'm up to the battle. Sorry, bit of a hijack there.

ilovemydogandmrobama Fri 19-Jun-09 15:25:20

After DS was born, I had the most appalling hospital mw. I wanted to discuss options as far as his feeding as they insisted that I feed him at intervals they dictated. I didn't feel this was necessary. She just kept quoting slogans at me and I flipped. On call midwife came to the ward, but backed her midwife and said that I had upset her hmm hmm

She said she would 'note' my complaint. I said that this wasn't about the midwife. It wasn't about me. It was about a boy who was an hour old, and wishing to discuss options like an intelligent woman rather than being treated as a child who needs to be told what to do.

The conversation recorded on my notes was a total lie saying that I refused advice which was not true. I only wanted to discuss/query their regiment!

Think now I wouldn't have bothered. Just would have asked DP to look up a few things on Kellymom and ignored them.

whoisasking Fri 19-Jun-09 15:35:31

I got told off by a hospital midwife for bleeding on the bed after my son was born! shock

SpaceCowGirl Fri 19-Jun-09 15:48:02

I would definately complain about her. She needs to be told, and to stop her treating someone else like that in the future.
Do it sooner rather than later.

I had an awful HV with DS1, she gave terribly inaccurate advice, and made me feel bad. I really regret not reporting her. (That was 6 years ago).

Most of all, enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

audreyraines Fri 19-Jun-09 15:55:56

i think you handled it really well yank, well done you. what a horrid horrid incompetent woman.

YanknCock Fri 19-Jun-09 16:07:42

Am thinking it through a bit more, and have come to a few conclusions:

1. I'm happy with my individual result (being switched to another midwife). I'm not sure what complaining about her specifically would accomplish. (though let's face it, I'm sure I've been branded a troublemaker among the midwives already, so not much to lose)

2. I'm not happy that it took my complaining to get this one particular midwife to promise to have a large BP cuff available. It should have been available, and I shouldn't have had to tell her about false high BP readings. How many other patients has she done this to?

Loads of us with bigger arms have experienced similar problems (stories on other threads), despite the fact that the NHS has a standard which says arms of a certain size should always have the large cuff. If this were a new standard, maybe I could see it being problematic in early days of implementation. But it's not a new thing at all. The British Hypertensive Society's guidance on this (which the NHS uses) was published five years ago. Research is available going back 20 years that shows wrong cuff size leads to false high BP readings. There's really no excuse for it not being in place anywhere in the NHS. Particularly not in a midwifery service when such a huge deal is made out of having a high BMI in pregnancy---if they're using BMI as a trigger for all sorts of tests and interventions, you'd think the least they could do would be to gather accurate clinical data on something as basic as BP!

So am thinking maybe the thing to do would be to write to the Trust, describe the situation with the BP cuff, and ask for assurance that all midwifery services within the trust have the large cuffs available and are reminded of the standard. And I'd send a copy of the British Hypertensive Society Guidelines and a printout of their own NHS Clinical Knowledge Summary to back it up.

Thoughts on this appreciated...

Hawkmoth Fri 19-Jun-09 17:48:25

I thought they assumed that all us high-BMI-ers were predestined to get high BP no matter what... so why waste resources getting us appropriate cuffs???? angry

To be fair, I have seen one MW who said before she took the reading, "we need a big cuff, this will read high"... it did, and she went of hunting for a normal one which came back as perfect.

I had a MW who said "I rang the hospital lab" and "I rang the national blood service" and then tried to fob me off when I asked which one she ACTUALLY rang. Why do they take it so personally when you question them?

Oooh... just remembered. When I was stuck in a children's ward with DD who was jaundiced, they sent a nasty MW over to try to force me to FF her. She had a massive go at me, then asked to check my stitches. I refused, and she wrote "Query need for psychiatric assessment" in my notes!!!!

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