Melbourne midwife suspended over high-risk homebirths

·2-min read

Two homebirths that required an ambulance to be called have landed a Melbourne midwife with a suspension.

Ulyana Kora will be suspended for three months after she attended two separate high-risk homebirths in October 2018 as part of her role as a private midwife working for Ten Moons.

She also worked as a midwife at Frankston Hospital at the time.

The first complaint, from the director of nursing and midwifery at Eastern Health, raised concerns about owner of Ten Moons, Martina Gorner, and her role as a private midwife providing antenatal care and attending the homebirth of a patient.

The patient had attended Box Hill Hospital the day before giving birth, where hospital staff suggested she undergo a caesarean section due to fetal compromise.

The patient then discharged herself against medical advice and went into labour the following day.

The complaint alleged Ms Gorner failed to appropriately formulate a treatment plan in light of the alarming clinical situation, and did not attend immediately when she was advised the woman was in labour.

She also did not cut the umbilical cord when the Apgar score indicated an unwell baby and resuscitation was taking place, and delayed transfer to hospital.

Ms Kora attended that birth in the role of secondary midwife.

The second complaint was from an unnamed paramedic called to a homebirth where the mother had just given birth to twins (without previously being diagnosed as a multiple pregnancy).

The twins were premature and the second twin required respiratory support.

The next day the paramedic saw a Facebook post by Ten Moons about the birth "congratulating themselves on a job well done".

Ms Kora also attended that birth.

In December 2021, Ten Moons and Ms Gorner were permanently banned from providing any general health services, including any involvement in, facilitating at, or participating in home births.

This week the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal announced Ulyana Kora will have her midwife registration suspended for three months from June 1.

The tribunal said its investigation into Ms Kora's actions stemmed from the complaints and subsequent banning of Ten Moons.

In both cases, the tribunal found she failed to obtain informed consent, keep and maintain adequate clinical records, and did not have a collaborative care arrangement in place.

She also didn't hold private indemnity insurance cover as a midwife attending homebirths.

Despite Ms Kora's claims that she was only at the births as a secondary midwife, without full responsibility of patient care, the tribunal found she engaged in professional misconduct.

In handing down their findings, senior member Judge Pamela Jenkins dismissed any suggestion the three-month suspension should be viewed as a "slap over the wrist".

She cited that Ms Kora continued to practise midwifery since the date of the complaint without any further incidents.

Judge Jenkins said Ms Kora can usefully and competently continue to work under strict protocols which apply in a hospital context, following her suspension.