Midwife Struck Off For Three Months
A senior midwife nurse who ‘left a pregnant mum and her unborn baby to die’ because her ‘shift had ended’ has been suspended for three months.
Rebecca Matovu went home instead of helping ailing Sareena Ali, 27, despite repeated frantic requests from her family that she was in anguish and pain at Queen’s Hospital in Essex. Matovu ignored three calls from Mrs Ali’s frightened husband and brother, even declining to help when the family resorted to banging on the nursing station doors. When she heard Mrs Ali was cold and unresponsive, Matovu went home instead of helping resuscitation efforts as her shift had ended, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.
Ms Ali had to have an emergency caesarean section, but the baby died shortly after it was born.
The mother was left in intensive care on a life support machine, but died from a ruptured womb and massive organ failure five days later. Coroner Chinyere Inyama found in November 2011 that staff at the hospital’s maternity unit, one of the largest in the UK, had contributed to the death through neglect.
Matovu was suspended from midwifery by an NMC hearing for failing to help the “utterly dependent” Mrs Ali. Clive Powell, chairing the NMC panel, said: “By ignoring the pleas for help that were made by the patient’s husband, Ms Matovu failed to listen to the people in her care and this is especially serious given that she was acting as midwife in charge. “This demonstrated a failure to act kindly and considerately.
“Further, it should have been abundantly clear to Ms Matovu that the actions of her team were placing the patient at risk and yet she took no action. “Moreover, Ms Matovu is an experienced midwife who should have been able to recognise the signs that a serious situation was unfolding before her. “It is agreed that Ms Matovu should have recognised that an emergency situation had arisen given that she was personally asked to call the crash team. “As a midwife in charge, even if she had formally ended her shift, it was imperative that Ms Matovu assisted her colleagues and sought to find out whether her skills were required.”
Mrs Ali, a sales assistant at Harrods, was induced on January 23 because she was overdue at 40 weeks. She arrived to the Essex hospital with her husband, mortgage consultant Usman Javed, at the hospital at 10am, but by 7.05pm she was in clear complications. Between then and 9.40pm, Mr Javed went to the nurses’ station for help three times, but was ignored by Matovu and her colleagues.
He told the inquest: “The midwife just laughed and said that once she is in labour the pains are just going to get worse. One of them told me, have you not been reading books, what have you been doing for the last nine months, but I told them I am not a doctor, I don’t know what to expect.”
Matovu left the ward before the crash team arrived and failed to provide any assistance to colleagues about Mrs Ali’s condition. Mr Powell said a striking off order had been considered but was deemed to be disproportionate in this case.