Native Affairs Summer Series – Certified

updated By Renee Kahukura-Iosefa

The family of a mother and baby who died while in maternity care are hurt and angry no-one has been held accountable. Casey Nathan died from a rare amniotic fluid embolism in May 2012.  Her newborn son, Kymani, died two days later.

A Coroner’s Court investigation found Kymani was delivered in a seriously compromised state and reported a comprehensive list of failings by Casey’s Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) and two other midwives.

“As far as we are concerned they (the midwives) are incompetent,” said Casey’s mum, Turama Nathan.

“What we heard in the court was they were incompetent.  They didn’t do their job or my baby would have been here now with her baby,” she said.

The Lead Maternity Carer left the country.  The second midwife was required to undertake further education and a third midwife had to complete a competence programme.

But the New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) is adamant the three midwives have not been found incompetent.

The NZCOM Professional projects Advisor, Alison Eddy, has written to Native Affairs saying there is a specific process for determining competency and incompetency.

“Being found incompetent by the Council has a specific meaning, and this has not occurred in relation to any of the midwives involved in this case,” said Alison Eddy.

“Being referred to Council for a competency review or to undertake a competency programme, being required to report back to Council following further education, are not the same as being found incompetent,” she said.

Her comments have reopened a deep wound for Casey’s whanau.

“If you have competence issues, doesn’t that make you incompetent?” says Turama Nathan.

“My baby and grandson are put in the ground.  We still haven’t heard anything on who is going to be held accountable. “

In July last year, Native Affairs broadcast its third story into the deaths of Casey and Kymani.

A headline in the official Coroner’s report said “Deaths of Ms Nathan and Kymani Were Preventable.”