one midwifes errors cause birth injuries and cerebral palsy

Over the past few years, many women in Pennsylvania and across the country have turned to midwives for prenatal care instead of obstetricians. Pregnant women who seek care from midwives often report that they receive the personal experience they are looking for from their pregnancy and birth.

However, they expect their midwives to tell them when seeking more qualified medical care would be appropriate. Unfortunately, pregnancy and childbirth involve certain risks, and many of those risks are best managed in a hospital setting. When midwives fail to refer pregnant women to the appropriate medical facility or practitioner, it can result in serious birth injuries.

In 2009, a little girl in New Hampshire suffered birth injuries that led to cerebral palsy when a midwife failed to refer the mother to a hospital and later failed to call an ambulance after the child’s birth.

Sarah and her husband Jonathan were excited about working with a midwife for their pregnancy. Although several risk factors were apparent before Sarah went into labor, the couple was never referred to an obstetrician.

During labor, the midwife was not able to find the baby’s heartbeat. Still, she did not seek additional medical assistance for the family. Instead, she insisted on delivering Sarah’s child outside of a hospital setting.

When the child was born, Jonathan wanted to call an ambulance. Again, the midwife insisted that additional medical help was unnecessary even though the baby girl had no heartbeat immediately after the birth.

Because of these medical errors, the baby had to stay in a hospital for 21 days after she was born. She will suffer from cerebral palsy for the rest of her life, and her family will have enormous medical expenses associated with her care.

Although nothing can undo the damage that has been done, the family should not have to bear the financial burden caused by this medical malpractice alone. After two years of negotiations, Sarah and Jonathan have finally reached a settlement with the midwife. They will receive financial compensation that will be put into a trust to provide for their daughter’s care.

Source: Concord Monitor, “Midwife settles suit for $730,000,” Maddie Hanna, Aug. 23, 2011

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