Cleveland Birth Injury Attorneys Seek Justice for Harm Caused by Midwife Errors
Midwives may be held liable for injuries that occur at birthing centers or at a mother’s home
In recent years, midwives have become a popular alternative to medical doctors in the delivery room, with just over 10 percent of births in the United States being attended by midwives. Many women seek a more “natural” approach to childbirth, and prefer to give birth in a birthing center or even in their own homes with the assistance of a midwife. Midwives commonly work in birthing centers, hospitals, and clinics. Like an obstetrician-gynecologist, a midwife can provide care throughout a woman’s pregnancy, in addition to her labor and delivery.
Though many midwives provide excellent care to women during their pregnancies and deliveries, others may provide substandard care that leads to illness, injury, or even death.
How are midwives different from medical doctors?
Midwives and medical doctors differ in several ways. These include:
- Education: Doctors possess a medical degree and are trained to perform surgeries, such as Caesarean sections. They primarily practice in hospitals, and a few may deliver babies at birthing centers. Midwives may possess various certifications. They help women with low- to moderate-risk pregnancies. They are not allowed to perform surgeries.
- Models of care: Doctors typically focus more on intervention during pregnancy and delivery than midwives do. Midwives may more often wait a while before determining if an intervention is necessary. Although unnecessary medical intervention should be avoided, waiting too long to take action often has serious consequences.
- Settings: Doctors overwhelmingly deliver babies in hospitals. Delivering in a hospital is especially beneficial when a seemingly low-risk pregnancy becomes high-risk—the doctor has all of the tools necessary to intervene and save the mother and the baby. For example, if an emergency Caesarean section is needed, the doctor can begin surgery in a matter of minutes. Midwives may also deliver babies at hospitals, but they also work in private homes and in birthing centers, where certain medical procedures (such as surgeries) are not possible.
Risks of using a midwife
Midwives should seek medical intervention from physicians as soon as possible when labor and delivery become high risk. This may occur at any point during a woman’s prenatal care or labor. Unfortunately, some midwives wait too long to seek medical intervention. Since medical intervention may require a patient’s transport to another facility, waiting even just a few minutes may lead to serious injury or death. For example, if a baby is not getting enough oxygen, a brain injury will likely result if action is not taken quickly. In cases where a Caesarean section becomes necessary, failing to intervene could result in the death of the baby or the mother. Other types of midwife errors include:
- Failing to refer the patient to a medical doctor when circumstances during the pregnancy require knowledge and skill outside the scope of midwife practice
- Failing to take action when information provided by fetal monitoring devices requires it
- Medication errors
- Failing to properly diagnose and/or treat an infection
- Failing to properly treat pre-eclampsia or eclampsia
- Failure to properly manage Pitocin, a drug that is used to jumpstart labor
- Failure to properly diagnose or manage gestational diabetes
These are only a few of the errors that may occur.
Midwives and malpractice
Midwives are medical professionals, and they may be held accountable for negligence that causes patient harm. A patient must demonstrate that the midwife owed that patient a duty, that the duty was breached, and, due to that breach, an injury occurred. A skilled medical negligence attorney can determine if and how a midwife was liable for an injury that occurred.
Contact the Eisen Law Firm for a free consultation today
At the Eisen Law Firm, our Cleveland medical negligence attorneys are experienced in midwife malpractice claims. We are skilled in identifying errors in midwife care and concentrate solely on medical malpractice and negligence. To schedule a free consultation, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online today.