Midwife Defends Right To Whistle-Blow On HIV Baby Case

14/08/2014 16:53 | Updated 22 May 2015

Midwife defends right to whistle-blow in HIV baby case

A midwife who was struck off in March 2012 after going to the media to reveal that a foster family were not being told that a baby in their care had HIV, has defended her right to be a whistle-blower.

Bernadette McDaid, 50, approached the papers after plans were drawn up to place an HIV positive baby in foster care in the London Borough of Newham.

The child had been born to a HIV positive mum, and was to be fostered by her relatives. The mother did not want her family to know about the child's HIV, and measures were taken to keep it from them, including not revealing what the medication the baby was taking was actually for.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council struck Mrs McDaid off, but the order was overturned by the High Court this year.

Yesterday, a fresh hearing heard that although Ms McDaid had raised 'legitimate concerns' over the HIV case, she had approached the matter in 'an entirely inappropriate' way.

The Telegraph reports Mrs McDaid had initially spoke to her bosses about the baby, but then went to the media.

The court was told that although it was not wrong for her to raise her concerns, the way she did it was.

Michael Collis, counsel for the NMC, told the hearing Mrs McDaid 'had made it clear that she was unhappy with the fact that Patient B's HIV status was not being disclosed to the foster carers'.

He said that Mrs McDaid had 'shouted' at the baby's mother and at social workers at a meeting after the child was born, and sent a letter to two senior employees at Newham University Hospital trust claiming they would be 'exposed as the repugnant, amoral, dishonest characters that you are'.

As well as facing accusations of verbally abusing colleagues and breaching patient confidentiality, McDaid is also accused of submitting false evidence to the High Court and the NMC, and making inappropriate comments to a patient.

She is said to have told one woman, named only as Patient A, that her baby looked 'very white' during a home visit, in January 2009.

"During the course of the registrant's (Mrs McDaid's) routine visit to Patient A's house the registrant made several inappropriate comments, centred around the colour of Patient's A's child," Michael Collis said. "This included the comment 'your baby looks very white', 'he is very fair, people may ask if you are the nanny', 'people may think that you have had an egg donation, because he is so white'."

Mrs McDaid said the allegation was 'nonsense' and that she had said nothing inappropriate.

She told the court most of the allegations against her were 'fabricated' and baseless, and that she simply 'calls a spade a spade'.

She added that she had contacted senior government figures in the last administration over the HIV case and asserted she was 'reporting child abuse' and that she 'had a right to whistle-blow'.

The hearing continues.

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