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Lawsuit claims midwife caused infant's brain injury

Patricia M. Jarzobski

A recently filed lawsuit has many in Colorado and across the nation debating the merits and dangers of home births and the choice to use a midwife to deliver one's child. The case revolves around a couple's claim that the midwife they selected to assist in the birth of their child mishandled the event. The child suffered a severe brain injury at the time of birth; an outcome the lawsuit asserts should, and could have been avoided.

Among the claims made in the suit is that the midwife did not arrive to the couple's home until two days after the mother began experiencing contractions. Once there, she was unable to monitor the infant's heart rate because she lacked the medical equipment necessary to do so. This led to the midwife being unaware that the baby was experiencing respiratory distress.

The child was successfully delivered at home, but sustained brain injury during the process. As a result, the now two-year-old child is not yet able to walk or sit up unassisted. The family believes that he will require continuing medical care as a result of his brain injury.

They are asking for unspecified damages in their brain injury lawsuit, which will be put toward their son's continued medical needs. They also hope that the outcome of the case will lead to changes in the way that their state regulates the use of midwives during the childbirth experience. The case serves as an example to parents in Colorado and elsewhere that there is legal recourse available for mistakes made during the delivery process, no matter if conducted at home or in a medical facility.

Source: Hawaii News Now, "Suit alleges midwife malpractice," Rick Daysog, March 26, 2013

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