Midwife Jillian Delaile has been struck off the NSW professional register following a tribunal hearing. Ross Irby
Midwife Jillian Delaile has been struck off the NSW professional register following a tribunal hearing. Ross Irby Ross Irby

Midwife struck off for misconduct

A HOMEBIRTH midwife has been struck off the professional register following a tribunal hearing into the death of a newborn baby in 2007.

The hearing of the Nurses and Midwives Tribunal of NSW into two complaints found on May 24 that Jillian Delaile was guilty of professional misconduct.

It ordered that Ms Delaile's name be removed from the Register of Midwives for NSW and that she must wait for at least a year before applying to re-register.

Ms Delaile was the midwife attending a home birth at Tuntable Creek in July 2007. A baby boy, named Jasper, was delivered, but later died in hospital.

Coroner Nick Reimer found that baby Jasper had died on his way to Nimbin Hospital because of an interruption in oxygen to the brain.

It was probably caused by the umbilical cord being wrapped tightly around his neck in the womb and by his inhaling meconium (foetal faeces) during the birth.

Mr Reimer found that Ms Delaile could not be held responsible for the death.

There had been a series of ‘shortcomings' in the lead-up to Jasper's death, but he could not conclude that they ‘caused or contributed to a major extent to the ultimate death', Mr Reimer said.

However, the Health Care Complaints Commission moved against Ms Delaile over this case, and another in which twins were delivered to a high-risk patient who had moved into her home.

In this case, in which the second twin required emergency hospital care, the tribunal found Ms Delaile was ‘guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct'.

In both cases, Ms Delaile‘demonstrated that the knowledge, skill or judgment she possessed, or the care she exercised, in the practice of midwifery was significantly below the standard reasonably expected of a registered midwife of an equivalent level of training or experience and/or she had engaged in improper or unethical conduct related to the practice of midwifery', the tribunal found.

Another complaint upheld by the tribunal was that the evidence given, ‘particularly that of Ms Delaile, showed not only her serious lack of judgment in relation to the incidents' in the complaint, but also her lack of current insight into the practice expected of her as an independent, homebirth midwife.

Jasper's parents, Angel Kosch and Benedict Coyne, said at the time of the inquest: “We both still believe in homebirth and strongly believe in a woman's right to choose where and how she births her child.”



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