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Nurse-Midwife Errors – Cincinnati & Covington
For centuries, midwives have helped pregnant women deliver their babies, providing services before, during, and after delivery. Midwives work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and birthing centers. Though not as common as it once was, the use of a midwife for childbirth has regained popularity in recent years. Many pregnant women desiring a “natural” birth experience opt to labor and deliver their child in a birthing center or at home. Now midwives attend approximately ten percent of births in the U.S.
Most births using midwives are healthy and complication-free. But what happens if something does go wrong? Can midwives still be held legally liable the way doctors and other health professionals can? The answer is yes. In birth injury cases, a midwife may be held liable for medical malpractice and face a midwife negligence lawsuit.
If you or your child sustained a severe injury caused by midwife negligence, you need the help of an experienced and skilled Cincinnati birth injury attorney at The Lawrence Firm, PSC. Our legal team has over 50 years of experience working with clients in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky on various personal injury claims. Contact our birth injury law firm to establish your attorney-client relationship and get started on your claim today.
What is a Nurse Midwife?
A nurse-midwife provides primary healthcare services for women, including prenatal and postnatal care, gynecological examinations, and health education. They have advanced education and are extensively trained and experienced in nursing, women’s health, and childbirth. However, they typically do not care for high-risk pregnancies.
Their approach to comprehensive care is less routine and more personal and individualized. Midwives also provide care for a woman’s lifetime, not just through pregnancy. They also help with family planning, newborn care for the first 28 days of life, and menopausal care.
Using a nurse-midwife also comes with a lower price. Since the focus is on a more low-tech, high-touch birth experience utilizing less technology, it costs less.
How To Become a Nurse Midwife in Ohio or Kentucky
A midwife can be a certified nurse-midwife (CNM), a certified midwife (CM), and a certified professional midwife (CPM).
To become a nurse-midwife in Ohio or Kentucky, a person must first earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and obtain licensure to practice as a registered nurse (RN).
A CNM is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). They must also hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). The degree must be from an institution accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. While earning their MSN, candidates must gain experience working as an RN before they may apply to a midwifery program.
After completing their master’s degree, candidates must pass the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner examination by the American Midwifery Certification Board before applying for state licensure.
How Are Midwives Different From Medical Doctors?
Doctors and midwives differ in several key ways. While midwives in Ohio and Kentucky must be highly educated, experienced, and licensed, doctors must receive an even higher level of education. Doctors have a medical degree and receive training to perform cesarean section surgeries. Midwives may not perform surgeries.
A licensed physician is poised to intervene should a pregnancy or birth turn risky or complicated. Midwives often wait longer to see if an intervention is needed. Serious consequences may occur if a medical provider doesn’t intercede quickly enough.
The overwhelming majority of doctors perform deliveries in hospitals. When what started as a low-risk pregnancy turns high-risk, it’s good to be in a hospital with all the necessary tools and medical equipment. For instance, if the doctor needs to perform an emergency C-section, they have the means do so immediately.
Midwives may also deliver babies at hospitals, but they tend to work more at private homes and birthing centers where performing surgery is not an option.
Read Also: Failure to Perform a C-Section
What is Midwife Malpractice?
Midwives only handle low-risk pregnancies, childbirth, and postpartum care. Sometimes, however, a low-risk pregnancy and delivery quickly becomes a high-risk emergency. In this case, the midwife must seek medical intervention quickly.
If a woman is laboring at a birthing center or home, they may need to move to another facility in an emergency. The time it takes to travel to a different location can mean the difference between life, death, or severe birth injury. When a high-risk situation arises, a nurse-midwife must immediately seek the help of a qualified obstetrician.
If a midwife fails to diagnose or act quickly when a high-risk situation develops during pregnancy or childbirth, they may be liable for labor and delivery malpractice.
Errors Or Negligence By A Nurse-Midwife
Some types of midwife mistakes that may cause birth injuries include:
- Failure to monitor
- Failing to respond to information from fetal distress monitoring devices
- Failure to perform aversion or performing it when contraindicated
- Failure to consult an obstetrician when problems occur during labor and delivery
- Failure to consult with an obstetrician regarding a C-section
- Medication mistakes
- Failure to diagnose and treat infection
- Failure to diagnose and treat preeclampsia or high blood pressure
- Failure to diagnose and treat toxemia
- Ruptured uterus
- Failure to monitor a VBAC birth (vaginal birth after cesarean)
- Inability to manage Pitocin/oxytocin
- Failure to diagnose and manage gestational diabetes
- Failure to diagnose and manage diabetic ketoacidosis in pregnancy
- Failure to diagnose arrest of dilatation/arrest of descent
- Failure to timely and adequately intervene or resuscitate
Even though childbirth is an everyday event, it can be hazardous for both mothers and babies if something goes wrong. Life-altering injuries and disabilities can have a lasting impact.
Read Also: How Dangerous is the Wrong Medical Diagnosis
Injuries That Result From Birth Trauma
Negligence can lead to serious injury for the baby such as cerebral palsy, brain damage, and other serious problems. Some of these child injuries can cause cognitive and developmental delays that affect a person for life and require significant treatment and care.
Some additional common birth injuries include:
- Shoulder dystocia
- Cerebral palsy
- Uterine rupture
- Hypoxic/Ischemic brain injury (HIE)
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- HELLP Syndrome
- Placental abruption
- Meconium aspiration
- Birth asphyxiation
- Brachial plexus birth palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
Some of these injuries can affect a person for life and require significant treatment and care. That is why those who are affected by medical negligence that leads to birth injury need the help of a qualified medical malpractice attorney like those at The Lawrence Firm. Our law firm has obtained compensation for families and their children by using a team approach that connects experienced lawyers, in-house medical personnel, and our network of experts and specialists.
Nurse-Midwife Error Injuries And Litigation
According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, midwives attended over 300,000 births in 2005, 97 percent in hospitals.
Many advocates of nurse-midwives for labor and delivery point to the success of midwife care at avoiding cesarean sections and other medical interventions. However, another reason for their success is self-selection. Often, midwives do not accept patients at high risk for complications, making their outcomes appear better than those of obstetricians and family practice professionals. Partly for this reason, mistakes and negligence that result in injury to a baby or mother are even more shocking.
Regardless, midwives are still strongly encouraged to protect themselves from medical malpractice lawsuits by carrying malpractice insurance. Proving pregnancy and childbirth negligence and any other medical negligence is difficult, though. You must demonstrate that a breach of duty to the patient occurred, which includes showing the midwife caused the damages.
At The Lawrence Firm, we have law offices in Covington and Cincinnati, and our lawyers are dedicated to helping families in northern Kentucky and southwest Ohio who have experienced negligence or malpractice at the hands of a nurse-midwife. We will investigate your medical care, interview witnesses, and analyze medical records to build your case.
If you or your baby were injured due to a nurse-midwife error, contact experienced legal counsel immediately to learn about your options.
Free Initial Consultations for Birth Injury Claims
The Lawrence Firm has extensive experience representing clients injured by medical negligence. We are experienced in birth injury and midwife medical malpractice claims and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for you or your child’s injuries. Our skilled Covington and Cincinnati attorneys review the details of your case and conduct an investigation to determine the responsible parties and subsequently work to prove their negligence.
Keep in mind, however, that in medical malpractice cases, there may be multiple parties responsible for your damages. These include the medical facility, the nurse-midwife, other medical professionals, medical device manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies. If you or your baby were injured as the result of a nurse-midwife error, contact experienced legal counsel right away to speak with an attorney about the sensitive information in your case and discuss options for your midwife negligence lawsuit. You must act quickly, though, because both Ohio and Kentucky have a one-year statute of limitations for filing birth injury lawsuits. Call The Lawrence Firm at 800-698-4054 for a free consultation with our Cincinnati personal injury lawyers today.
You Pay No Fees Unless We Win!
We are happy to offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. If you hire us as your legal counsel, we will represent you on a contingency-fee basis. You will pay no attorneys’ fees unless we recover financial damages.