In the last decade, the U.S. has seen an increase in midwife deliveries. Several studies have found that midwife-involved births see fewer malpractice claims. While a majority of midwives are certified through nursing school, others have no formal medical training at all.
Recently, a Minnesota mother and her newborn child suffered from an Allina Health midwife’s negligence, according to the Star Tribune.
The Hennepin County jury awarded Sirena Samuelson $8.9 million in a childbirth suit. According to documents, Samuelson mentioned to her certified midwife that her unborn baby felt heavier than her first child. The midwife ignored Samuelson’s observation.
Complications occurred during the delivery at Allina’s Cambridge Medical Center. Samuelson’s baby weighed 10.5 pounds, which is larger than the average U.S. birth weight. It was reported that the midwife pulled the baby with unnecessary force, breaking his right arm and causing severe nerve damage. The baby underwent two surgeries shortly after birth.
Midwives and medical malpractice
The result of medical malpractice is devastating. When children are the victims, often the whole family feels the pain. Midwives are not doctors. However, their responsibilities are similar in nature. Professionally trained and qualified midwives should be able to spot and actively prevent birth injuries, such as:
- Cerebral palsy
- Fetal brain damage
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Developmental delays
- Stillbirth or postpartum death
Additionally, midwives can identify a variety of other pregnancy complications. Most midwives work in hospitals, but many do not go through medical programs. Surgeries, medical procedures and childbirth require professional care. Lack of training and experience can result in harmful mistakes. Those who suffer from the negligence of a midwife may be able to file a medical malpractice claim.