Rural midwives learn from The Royal’s stellar team

Torie Finnane was a much-loved midwife who tragically passed away in December 2020 just three days after giving birth to her third child Maisie in their hometown of Orange.

Torie’s tragic passing resulted from bacterial meningitis, unrelated to the birth of her daughter.  

Not long after she was born, Maisie was swiftly transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Hospital for Women. She was extremely unwell and required acute care.   

Expert staff in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit work day and night to save the lives of critically ill babies born with the odds stacked against them, whom are sent to The Royal from all over NSW for specialist care.

Thanks to the devoted team, baby Maisie was able to return home to her father, Liam, and older siblings, Ollie and Elke two weeks later.

Following their heart-breaking loss, the Finnane family set up the Torie Finnane Foundation with the aim of improving maternity services in regional and remote NSW.

One of the Foundation’s aims is to sponsor rural and regional midwives and nurses to undertake internships with metropolitan and tertiary hospitals to further develop their skills and bring this knowledge back to the bush.

The Royal was the first hospital to take part in this unique exchange program.

Nicole Vautin, midwife at Orange Health Service, recently travelled to Sydney to embark on a four-week internship in The Royal’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where she learnt from a crack team of nurses, social workers and neonatologists.

“Working in a dynamic, fast paced environment taught me specialised clinical skills that I would seldom experience back in Orange, such as the resuscitation of extremely premature babies born at just 24 weeks gestation,” says Ms Vautin.

“Thank you kindly to the amazing staff at The Royal for sharing your incredible knowledge with me. And to the Torie Finnane foundation: this valuable opportunity would not have been possible without you.”

The midwife has an extra special connection with the Finnane family. In 2020 she began her midwifery training at Orange Health Service and Torie was one of the first to welcome her.

“Torie was one of the senior midwives who went out of their way to make me feel welcome and supported. She certainly helped shape the midwife I am today,” says Ms Vautin.

The Foundation has raised over half a million dollars this year alone. This is a testament to Torie, and the incredible impact she had on her community. The funds raised will allow for more tertiary placements across the state.

Doctor and baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit