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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 January, 2004, 19:21 GMT
Portland midwife admits mistakes
A midwife involved in the care of a woman who died after giving birth at a private hospital has admitted a series of mistakes at a disciplinary hearing.

Laura Touche died from a brain haemorrhage after having an emergency Caesarean at Portland Hospital, London.

The hearing was told Grace Bartholomew was working on the postnatal ward when Mrs Touche was admitted.

She was allocated to care for her after the operation, but admitted failing to carry out basic observations.

To carry out no basic observations whatsoever is extremely serious

Katrina Wingfield, Nursing and Midwifery Council

Ms Bartholomew, 57, a bank nurse, also admitted failing to write the new mother's name on the board, failing to provide an adequate handover when she went on her break at 0130 GMT and failing to maintain adequate records while Mrs Touche was in her care.

Mrs Touche died in February 1999 following a stroke, nine days after having twin boys delivered by Caesarean.

An inquest jury in January 2002 found the Harvard law school graduate died from natural causes "contributed to by neglect".

Coroner Dr Susan Hungerford singled out Ms Bartholomew for criticism saying she should have checked Mrs Touche's blood pressure and that she might have been treated earlier if her high blood pressure had been spotted sooner.

Katrina Wingfield, for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, told Tuesday's hearing: "In my submission it is fundamental to carry out basic observations post- operatively every 15 minutes for the first hour, maybe every 30 minutes for the second hour and then obviously less frequently provided all is well.

"But to carry out no basic observations whatsoever is extremely serious."

The hospital, which released a statement in connection with the tribunal, has carried out extensive internal investigations to review all the policies and procedures involved with post-operative care.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday.

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