Somek & Associates' Jessica Thurston, Head of Medico-legal Operations and...
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Diploma in Higher Education Midwifery Studies
Following training and qualification in 1996 as a Registered Midwife in London, I worked both there and within two other large teaching hospitals for the next nine years, where I gained a wide range of experience within community and hospital maternity settings. I have a passion for quality high-risk care provision. I gained experience with transitional care of newborns and also became the contact for needlestick injuries. I have a particular interest in blood-bourne viruses and acquired the ENB 994 Care of Women Affected by HIV / AIDS, after which, I was asked to sit on the panel for writing policies regarding these issues.
A move to the Middle East in 2005 gave me the opportunity to acquire a huge amount of labour ward experience at a senior level in the largest government hospital in the Gulf. The hospital adopted UK practices and followed NICE Guidelines under the direction of skilled senior obstetricians. A very high delivery rate combined with a diverse range of medical issues, has given me in-depth skills in recognising and dealing with obstetric emergencies and pregnancy complications, and the importance of communication in a multicultural environment. In my role as Labour Ward co-ordinator, I was responsible for smooth, safe running of the ward, supporting other midwives and doctors, handling emergencies and preparing the rota for 60 staff.
I was a member of the Labour Ward Forum, where I represented midwives and the ward, along with obstetric consultants, anaesthetists and pharmacists in addressing safety issues that had arisen in the unit. Responsibilities included re-writing some hospital policies in line with NICE Guidelines and best practice, and educating other midwives of these changes. I was a responder for the Patient Safety Network (incident reporting) and was required to investigate incidents which had resulted in suboptimal outcomes. This also involved interviewing other midwives, debriefing and report writing. I lead a project looking at midwives suturing and ways to reduce the rate of 3rd degree tears. I taught midwives, junior doctors and students in latest techniques regarding suturing and I obtained invaluable experience within the realm of female genital mutilation (FGM). I was one of the main clinical educators at the hospital when we ran the first midwife training course in the UAE. I was also responsible for training qualified midwives and doctors on the use of electronic fetal monitoring (Fetal Link) and hence, I have always had a keen interest in CTG interpretation, review and action. I am currently working part time at two District Hospitals. One is a relatively small unit with consultant cover, where in addition to labour ward and post natal areas, I work in the Day Assessment Unit. This department cares for antenatal women with pregnancy issues requiring extra monitoring, eg raised blood pressure, obstetric cholestasis, anaemia, twins, small-for-dates babies. The other is a large high risk referral unit undertaking around 5,000 deliveries per annum. Based on labour ward, I care for women being induced, in labour and any other pregnancy related issues requiring admission to a high-risk labour ward. I also work in the High Dependency Unit on the labour ward, caring for very high risk or unwell women who may for example have experienced a massive post partum haemorrhage, eclampsia or sepsis.
I accept instructions from both claimant and defendant solicitors and insurers. I have undergone formal training in the medico-legal process and am fully aware of my responsibilities under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) pertaining to expert witnesses. I have been undertaking cases since March 2018.