Years ago, certified midwives in Missouri were prohibited from delivering babies outside of a hospital setting. But recent laws have enabled them to register as advanced practice registered nurses who may attend home births provided they maintain a practice agreement with a licensed physician. Many women throughout the country work with midwives to birth their babies at home; however, just as in a hospital setting, things do not always go well and serious, even fatal birth injuries sometimes occur.
A tragedy occurred in another state in Nov. 2021 that caused quite a stir in the home birth, medical and legal communities. A young couple who had chosen to give birth to their first baby at home with the assistance of a midwife were left devastated when the infant was stillborn. The horrified parents later learned that it was not the first time that fatal birth injuries occurred under the watch of the same midwife.
Past birth injuries caused one state to ban the midwife from practicing
The 65-year-old midwife in question has faced charges several times in the past when at-home birthing events went terribly wrong. In one case, in 2010, she pleaded guilty to multiple felonies after an infant’s death. She served less than a week in jail and agreed to a ban that would prevent her from practicing midwifery in that state. She also incurred substantial fines in Maryland (the same state where the Nov. 2021 tragedy occurred) when another baby died that same year.
How can parents protect their babies from birth injuries?
Parents can investigate the background of a midwife or obstetrician before entrusting their birthing experience to them. They can find out if a particular person has ever been disciplined by the medical board or faced criminal charges or civil lawsuits in connection with their work. However, it is not the responsibility of the parents to monitor a midwife or doctor’s behavior, and every patient can expect to receive quality care in accordance with state laws and accepted safety standards of the medical industry. A concerned Missouri parent whose child has suffered birth injuries may explore litigation options by scheduling a consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.