7 Dec 2015

Mum told baby had a stroke when he hadn't

6:45 pm on 7 December 2015

An osteopath has been reprimanded for telling a mother her newborn son had a stroke, when he hadn't.

In a report released today, Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Rose Wall said the baby's mother visited the unnamed osteopath, in April last year, to get help for her son's colic.

During the first visit, the osteopath attempted to treat the baby by placing his hands over his head and neck, Ms Wall said.

The mother went back in May, and was told her son was likely to have had a stroke during labour but he would "heal himself".

The family doctor later told her he had not had a stroke.

The report said the child's grandmother, who had been at both appointments, called the osteopath after the second visit.

"[The grandmother] asked him why he had told them that [the baby] had had a stroke, and told him that this was dangerous information to give to a concerned mother."

The osteopath then apologised to both the mother and the grandmother and said there was nothing to worry about.

Ms Wall said she failed to see the reasoning behind the diagnosis.

"Overall, I find that [the osteopath's] clinical reasoning in relation to how he formed the view that the baby might have suffered an intracranial bleed was flawed, and conclude that he failed to provide services to the baby with reasonable care and skill," she said in the report.

The osteopath was ordered to send a written apology to the mother and undertake further training in communicating with clients.

He was also told to review his practice and report back within a month.

Ms Hall also recommended the company, which was not faulted, develop guidance documents for providers, especially in relation to informed consent for treatment.

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