TWELVE babies had to be born by caesarean section after a midwife secretly drugged their mothers, a disciplinary hearing was told.
A total of 20 babies suffered dangerously slow heartbeats as a result of Kirsteen Stewart needlessly administering a labour-inducing drug, according to a lawyer for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Ms Stewart was the primary midwife when the “extremely rare” and unexplained emergencies happened at a hospital in Aberdeen.
The NMC admitted it had no direct evidence of Ms Stewart giving Syntocinon to the mothers but said its case depended on the “remarkable trend of women who experienced problems” following her involvement.
Officials at NHS Grampian, who investigated the case, looked at 2,846 births handled by other midwives and found only one similar incident.
Police also investigated Ms Stewart, 48, from Newmachar, Aberdeen, but no criminal proceedings were brought against her. Ms Stewart was not present or represented when the case against her started at the NMC in Edinburgh.
The charge reads that between 4 October 2007 and 13 March 2010 at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital she “administered a bolus [intravenous] dose of an oxytocic [labour-inducing] drug to one or more service users”.
It continues: “Your actions caused or contributed to the foetuses of one or more of the service users listed experiencing bradycardia.”
Bradycardia refers to an abnormally low fetal heart rate of less than 100 beats per minute, and can result in distress, jaundice and even death.
The hearing continues.