2 Apr 2009

Midwife worked far away as client full term, tribunal told

5:52 am on 2 April 2009

A Northland midwife was carrying out locum work hundreds of kilometres away from where her client was expecting a baby, a health tribunal has been told.

Monique Kapua is charged with professional misconduct, after she let a pregnancy continue to 43 weeks, resulting in a stillbirth. She is appearing before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

Ms Kapua is accused of not alerting the baby boy's mother to the risks of a prolonged pregnancy or carrying out standard antenatal tests.

Despite the mother being at term, Ms Kapua also went on leave, claiming she had an urgent family matter to attend to and did not organise adequate back-up.

In previous evidence, the tribunal was told Ms Kapua assured the mother she was holidaying in Auckland and could easily drive back if the mother went into labour.

However, the prosecution produced documents on Wednesday that show Ms Kapua was working as a locum in the northern Gisborne area, more than 10 hours away from where her expectant client was.

Under cross-examination on Tuesday, the prosecution challenged Ms Kapua's memory, her lack of clinical notes and version of events.

It put to her that she contradicted the statement of facts and her own evidence, but Ms Kapua said the inconsistencies lay instead with the mother's evidence.

The baby's mother sat shaking her head at the back of the room at times.

Earlier, Ms Kapua questioned the evidence of the prosecution's midwifery expert, Tungane Kani.

Ms Kapua said she absolutely denied the implication that she employed deliberate subterfuge and accused Tungane Kani of being biased.

Ms Kapua also flatly refused to accept the prosecution evidence against her and has given a very different account of events.