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Toddler Dies Following Injury During Birth with Midwife

My Fox published a story earlier this month on a sad case of a young child who suffered a serious injury as a result of a traumatic birth. Many called it a miracle that the baby survived his first night out of the womb. However, he was plagued by the consequences of the injury throughout his short life, and he recently passed away at the age of three. It is an incredibly sad story that some are using to raise concerns about the safety of certain birthing methods and the potential need for clearer regulations for midwives.

Failure to Act Quickly
According to the report, the family involved made the decision to hire a midwife to help with a home birth. This is a decision that many families make, and successful home births with midwife aid is common throughout Illinois. But there was little successful about this particular birth. The mother began labor in mid-may of 2010. Eventually there were clear signs that something was amiss. Most notably, the mother began bleeding “profusely” — an obvious indicator of serious problems.

Yet, instead of taking the abnormal bleeding as a sign that emergency medical help was needed, the midwife did not call an ambulance. It turns out that the mother suffered a placental abruption, which is a birth complication that refers to the placenta peeling away from the uterine wall. This can be a complete peeling away or a partial peeling away, however, in both situations there is risk of serious injury to the mother and baby.

That is what happened in this case. The story notes how the abruption, indicated by the severe bleeding, ultimately caused the newborn to suffer a traumatic brain injury. At first, the family did not know if the baby would survive, and the harm to the mother was also unclear. Amazingly the young boy and mother survived.

Of course, the TBI still caused significant problems, and throughout his life the boy was unable to do much of anything on his own, including walk, speak, or even crawl. Yet, as so many families with children who suffered similar injuries can attest, the boy soon became a centerpiece of the family’s life for his ability to “light up a room with his infectious smile and twinkling eyes.”

Sadly, the boy passed away recently at age three. In the aftermath of the tragic loss the family is hoping that their sadness will lead to changes to improve the safety of midwife births for others. Specifically, they are urging stricter requirements before one is allowed to aid in a birth related to education, training and insurance.

There remain a wide range of opinions of the appropriate balance for regulatory midwife policy. But the important thing for all Illinois families to remember is that if you are harmed by potential errors, delays, omissions, or outright harmful conduct by anyone (doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas) involved in your childbirth, you may have legal rights to recover for your injuries. The recovery can ensure your child has access to an extra support they need to aid in their development. An attorney can explain your options

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