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Midwives not immune to malpractice

Many parents-to-be use midwives at home or in small birthing clinics so the birth process can take place in a more personal and intimate setting. What many parents don't realize is that birthing centers and midwives do not necessarily fall under the same oversight and regulations as hospitals. This does not mean they are a bad choice for everyone, but there are some deliveries that should take place in a hospital setting.

With these issues in mind, Hawaii residents who are planning families may want to take notice of a recent medical malpractice lawsuit. A young couple chose a birth center to give birth to their baby in 2012. When it came time for the delivery, the birthing center staff found the baby was in a breech position. The staff attempted to deliver the baby vaginally, but he became stuck and suffered from oxygen deprivation. He was transferred to a nearby medical center where he died 13 days later.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that any breech birth is a complicated matter that requires planning. In most cases, a C-section is recommended rather than a vaginal delivery to ensure there is no trauma to the baby. The parents filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the birthing center, claiming that the birth injury that led to their baby's death could have been prevented.

The court that heard the case awarded the parents $5 million, but matters are complicated by the fact that the birthing center closed while the lawsuit was still pending, leaving the parents wondering if anyone will ever have to pay for what happened to their son. While this is being worked out, just the filing of the lawsuit has brought attention to important safety concerns related to prenatal care.

Source: Medstak, "$5 Million Awarded in Midwife Malpractice Lawsuit," Whitney Taylor, June 10, 2014

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