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Michigan midwife accused of fatal judgment error

Like some other states, Michigan parents can opt to delivery their newborn children at home with the help of a midwife. Many do just that for a variety of reasons. In fact, reports suggest that, in 2017, 1,283 Michigan women decided to have their children at home by using a midwife.

Unfortunately, home births do not always go as expected. In such cases, midwives, like any other medical professional, either need to be able to resolve any unexpected issue that threatens the health of the patients or see to it that the mother and child get to a hospital as quickly as possible.

In one recent case, a midwife is accused of falling short in this responsibility. This shortfall led to the newborn death of a baby that by all indications was healthy.

According to the dead child's mother, the midwife consistently told the parents that the pregnancy looked to be normal. However, in the middle of the woman's laboring at home, the midwife said that the baby was actually breech, meaning the child would come out in some position other than head first. It is common medical knowledge that this is an extremely risky situation, such that even doctors will usually opt for a C-section.

However, the midwife continued trying to get the baby out in the course of the home birth, even convincing paramedics who came to the home at a family member's request to leave.

Paramedics eventually got called back to take the baby to the hospital after he was born not breathing. The baby had to be removed from life support three days after the birth.

In the wake of stories like these, Michigan is initiating tighter controls over those who hold themselves out to be midwives. To legally practice in Michigan, midwives will have to be licensed.

Residents of the Detroit area should also remember that a medical malpractice case can be filed against a midwife following preventable birth injuries.

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Michael T. Ratton
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