Buddle Findlay Lawyers (NZ) today reported an interesting decision of the New Zealand Health and Disability Commissioner (case 13 HDC 00515) regarding pain management and treatment provided by an anaesthetist and an obstetrician to a woman under their care during labour.

The patient was to undergo a caesarean section procedure with epidural anaesthesia, which was less than effective. The patient made a number of complaints of pain.

Criticisms of the anaesthetist focused on lack of proper assessment, advice and provision of pain relief: [14] – [16].

Criticisms of the obstetrician included failure to have spoken and acted with more authority when she thought that the patient was in pain and for continuing to operate: [21].