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Tragic Homebirth Results in Criminal Charges

Home births are becoming increasingly popular among expecting parents. Opting for a less sterile atmosphere than a hospital, these parents work with midwives throughout the pregnancy and then deliver the baby inside of their home. Unfortunately, the lack of available emergency services can make these procedures unreasonably dangerous. If the responsible midwife did not act with acceptable standards of care, she may be held criminally liable by the state. But the family is also left to deal with the emotional, physical and financial consequences. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, you can hold the midwife financially responsible for her actions.

A FOX News affiliate is reporting about a North Carolina midwife who was recently charged with several offenses stemming from a failed home birth. The charges reportedly included obstruction of justice, obtaining property by false pretenses, assault inflicting serious bodily injury and the murder of an unborn child. According to the report, the delivery was allegedly mishandled, resulting in a stillborn delivery.

The defendant was allegedly not certified to perform services as a midwife. In the state of North Carolina, individuals cannot work as midwives without certification. Under the state’s laws, midwives must successfully complete an accredited training program and obtain a state certification. As reported in the Fox News article, the defendant entered a plea of guilty to one count of felony obstruction of justice and one count of misdemeanor unauthorized practice of midwifery. She reportedly received a suspended sentence and the court prohibited her from practicing midwifery in the future.

Midwifery Rules in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, only one classification of midwife can legally practice. The first is the Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). These professionals must complete nursing schools and complete additional courses in midwifery. They receive accreditation from the American Midwifery Certification Board (ACMB). They commonly work in hospital settings, though they may perform home births with the collaboration of a physician.

Direct-Entry Midwives (DEM) are not legally allowed to practice within Illinois, though many choose to do so anyway. These midwives generality enter the profession through apprenticeships. They may take a competency exam, but it is not a requirement. If they do choose to take the test, they can receive certification by the North American Registry of Midwives.

When a midwife delivery results in a birth injury, families can seek monetary damages. If the midwife is covered by liability insurance, the process may involve an insurance claim. If the insurance company is unwilling to pay the claim, the family may need to file a lawsuit with the courts. These cases can prove challenging, with vast amounts of documentation and complex medical records. You may also need to present testimony from medical experts. A knowledgeable attorney is valuable when traversing a birth injury case.

If you or your newborn suffered a birth injury during a home birth delivery, contact the experienced attorneys of Levin & Perconti at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation. These attorneys will work to secure the compensation your family deserves.

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