Midwife who left pregnant mum and unborn baby to die when shift ended suspended for just three months

She failed to help a dying pregnant woman and her unborn baby, despite pleas from the family, because her shift ended


by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

Senior midwife Rebecca Matovu went home instead of helping ailing Sareena Ali, 27, ignoring three calls from the woman's panic-stricken husband and brother.

"The midwife just laughed"

She even refused to help when the family began banging on the nursing station doors at Queen's Hospital in Essex.

Her heartbroken husband revealed: "The midwife just laughed and said that once she is in labour the pains are just going to get worse.

"One of them told me, have you not been reading books, what have you been doing for the last nine months, but I told them I am not a doctor, I don't know what to expect."


A crash team was called to help resuscitate Mrs Ali, who was cold and unresponsive, but Matovu, whose shift had ended, went home instead of helping to save her life.

Despite an emergency caesarean section, the baby died shortly after it was born.

The pregnant woman was in 'obvious distress' (stock image)
The pregnant woman was in 'obvious distress' (stock image)

The mother was left in intensive care on a life support machine, but died from a ruptured womb and massive organ failure five days later.

Matovu has now been suspended from midwifery by a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing for failing to help the "utterly dependent" Mrs Ali.

Clive Powell, chairing the NMC panel, said: "By ignoring the pleas for help that were made by the patient's husband, Ms Matovu failed to listen to the people in her care and this is especially serious given that she was acting as midwife in charge.

"This demonstrated a failure to act kindly and considerately."


"Moreover, Ms Matovu is an experienced midwife who should have been able to recognise the signs that a serious situation was unfolding before her.

"It is agreed that Ms Matovu should have recognised that an emergency situation had arisen given that she was personally asked to call the crash team.

"As a midwife in charge, even if she had formally ended her shift, it was imperative that Ms Matovu assisted her colleagues and sought to find out whether her skills were required."

Matovu has been suspended from three months. A striking off order had been considered but was deemed to be disproportionate in this case.

Stock images used.

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