Midwife fights to clear her name and lift home birth bans
AN EXPERIENCED midwife is fighting to have her name cleared after two Nambour Hospital obstetricians complained about her home-birthing practices.
Natasha Oglesby, the founder of Sunshine Coast Midwifery, had severe restrictions placed on her registration in February, 2014 that stopped her delivering babies at home.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency imposed the conditions following four notifications to the regulatory body.
They were from Nambour Hospital obstetricians Ted Weaver and Kelvin Larwood.
Ms Oglesby spent $20,000 having the decision reviewed by the Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal.
The tribunal last week lifted several restrictions, but AHPRA is still investigating.
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The QCAT decision restricts Ms Oglesby from attempting to artificially induce labour other than in a hospital setting.
She is also prohibited from providing midwifery care outside a hospital to a woman planning a vaginal birth after a cesarean section.
Ms Oglesby told the Daily she would continue the fight until her name was cleared.
The case is being monitored by Human Rights in Childbirth lawyer Bashi Hazard, who flew from Sydney for the tribunal hearings in December last year.
Ms Hazard said AHPRA's decision "in itself concerned me".
She also believed the "implications of the case are concerning".
"Both AHPRA and the panel of QCAT are comfortable with the idea they can tell a woman what to do that is best for them without consulting them," she said.
She feared if AHPRA shut Ms Oglesby down, it could put the lives of women who wanted home births at risk.
"If women can't find a person on the Sunshine Coast to do a home birth, they might hire a midwife from further away who could take three hours to get there," she said.
"Hospitals should be embracing women who are able to help with home births rather than shutting it down."
Dr Larwood filed a notification after he used vacuum assistance to help Ms Oglesby's client give birth after a failed home birth.
He said the patient, aged 40, was admitted to hospital after "she had been pushing for three hours" and he had to perform a "rotational vacuum-assisted delivery".
Dr Weaver's concerns were Ms Oglesby had attempted to rupture the membranes of a woman 10 days past her due date in her second pregnancy who had previously had an emergency cesarean section.
Dr Weaver had to perform another cesarean.
He said she had tried to rupture the membrane twice with no communication with the hospital that had to provide subsequent care.
Ms Oglesby disputed these claims.
Ms Hazard said she questioned why neither of the women was called in to give evidence into the QCAT hearing.
She was gathering their statements to give to AHPRA.
Nambour Hospital referred the Daily to AHPRA, saying a comment could not be given "to protect the integrity of ... investigations".