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Midwife's care of HIV positive mother 'unprofessional'

A midwife behaved in an “entirely inappropriate” and “unprofessional manner” after she spoke to the media about the fostering arrangements for a baby born to an HIV positive mother, a disciplinary hearing has been told.

Tricia McDaid, 50, gave interviews to the Daily Mail, BBC and ITV after becoming “unhappy” about a decision not to tell foster carers that a baby’s mother, named only as Patient B, was HIV positive, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard.

Michael Collis, counsel for the NMC, told the hearing that as well as not informing the foster parents about the child’s condition, “it also appears that steps were taken to disguise the medication that Patient B’s baby was required to take while she was with the foster carers”.

He added: “The registrant (Mrs McDaid) made it clear that she was unhappy with the fact that Patient B’s HIV status was not being disclosed to the foster carers.”

He told the hearing that Mrs McDaid had “shouted” at Patient B and social workers at a meeting after the baby was born.

He said the NMC was not asserting that Mrs McDaid was wrong to raise her concerns.

But he said: “The assertion by the NMC is that the registrant behaved in an entirely inappropriate and unprofessional manner in the way in which she raised these concerns, both in terms of her conduct at the core group meeting … and by speaking to the media in detail about Patient B and her child.”

Mrs McDaid, 50, has denied a series of allegations before the NMC of making “inappropriate” comments and behaving in an aggressive and abusive way, at a hearing of the NMC conduct and competence committee in central London.

Mrs McDaid was struck off by the NMC in 2012 but her case is being reheard after a successful appeal in the High Court earlier this year.

Mrs McDaid denies a charge of making inappropriate comments after telling a woman, named only as Patient A, that her baby looked “very white” during a home visit, in January 2009.

“During the course of the registrant’s (Mrs McDaid’s) routine visit to Patient A’s house the registrant made several inappropriate comments, centred around the colour of Patient’s A’s child,” Mr Collis said.

“This included the comment ‘your baby looks very white’, ‘he is very fair, people may ask if you are the nanny’, ‘people may think that you have had an egg donation, because he is so white’,” he said.

Mrs McDaid described the charge as “nonsense” and said: “I said nothing inappropriate.”

Mrs McDaid, originally from Strabane, Northern Ireland, denied acting in a “verbally aggressive” manner in May 2009 during an investigatory meeting with two local supervising authority midwifery officers, Susan Crow and Barbara Kuypers.

“During the course of the meeting the registrant shouted at both women and had to be asked to calm down on several occasions,” Mr Collis told the hearing.

 

 

 

Readers' comments (3)

  • Dont know the details but agree that the midwife was right to raise concerns as the baby will need very special care. Its amazing that the patients name is with held but the midwife's published! If no one was doing anything about her misgivings, what else could she do to keep the baby safe? Patients first, isnt it! And what was there to hide-this wee child had done on wrong and needed understanding, KNOWLEGEABLE foster carers. I hope this caring midwife in reinstated

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  • This midwife behaved in highly discriminatory ways and her actions have only served to fuel HIV stigma and discrimination.
    So what if the baby and mother are living with HIV. HIV is a highly stigmatised medical condition in the UK and the unprofessional conduct of Ms McDaid merely reinforces the socio-cultural fear and hatred of children and adults living with HIV.
    Moreover, something seriously clearly went wrong given that this baby was even born with the virus given that over 99% of all babies born to mothers with HIV are born without the virus.
    This care illustrates that midwives and the nursing profession generally need to educate themselves about HIV. Scientific and medical developments are such that HIV is nothing more now than a manageable chronic health problem. Once adhering to HIV meds a person achieves an undetectable viral load and is no longer infectious.
    I sincerely hope that Ms McDaid has now educated herself about this medical condition and has reflected upon her bigoted conduct. I am absolutely disgusted by her conduct.

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  • From a more practical perspective, in the clinical situation universal precautions are routinely used and this helps to reduce the risk of transmitting any infection.

    However, as a paediatric nurse of many years, a lot of people mistakenly think that an innocent little baby can't possibly have anything harmful, and don't take the same precautions. Foster parents may have other children and unless they are aware of this risk, and allowed to put measures in place, they may unwittingly put themselves and other children at harm.
    Caring for a baby involves a lot of (sometimes projectile) bodily fluids.......

    Perhaps that was what she was concerned about.

    Not informing the foster carers of the actual medication is extremely risky, under no other circumstances would it be condoned, and I would question why the 'authorities' were so reticent to involve the foster carers as partners in this arrangement, but keep them in the dark.

    The individual concerned should have received some support from her line manager in dealing with this situation, avoiding the perceived need to go to the press in frustration.

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