A Washington midwife who has delivered over 4,000 babies in her 34 years as a midwife, and who is the only midwife who delivers babies at patients’ homes in the county where she practices, has reportedly been the subject of multiple investigations by the Washington State Department of Health, dozens of complaints, and several professional disciplinary orders for the professional services she has provided, including an administrative law judge reportedly finding that negligence by the midwife was a factor in the death of a 21-year-old patient in 1994.
The midwife has had at least 22 complaints involving her midwife services, of which 19 were considered serious enough to be investigated by the Washington State Department of Health.
The midwife is currently under investigation by the Washington State Department of Health in three cases, including two that have resulted in midwife malpractice lawsuits, according to reports. The 60-year-old midwife is also a party to a Washington medical malpractice case on appeal that involves a baby delivered by the midwife in 2010 who suffered a brachial plexus injury allegedly due to the midwife’s negligence (the Washington medical malpractice jury had found in the midwife’s favor in 2015).
Even the midwife’s cousin has filed a medical malpractice case against her, alleging that the midwife’s negligence during the long labor and delivery of her large baby at home in 2014 involved excessive traction and pulling and twisting of the baby’s head and neck during the delivery. As a result, the baby was noted to have a limp arm at birth and has suffered permanent paralysis and dysfunction of his arm and shoulder, according to the pending midwife medical malpractice lawsuit. The midwife denies that the labor was long and blames “an act of God – the natural forces of labor,” as the reason for the newborn’s injuries.
First Disciplinary Action
The first time that the Washington midwife was professionally disciplined was in 1995, for the death of a 21-year-old patient in 1994. According to reports, the patient went to the midwife’s clinic, which the midwife runs out of her home, for delivery of her second child, in September 1994. For two hours following giving birth, the mother continued to bleed and became lightheaded and nauseous, and complained of abdominal and back pain. The midwife waited for almost four hours before she called 911 after which the patient was transferred to the hospital, where her blood pressure dropped, her heart rate increased, and an emergency hysterectomy was unable to save her life.
An administrative law judge determined in 1995 that the patient had suffered a preventable postpartum hemorrhage that started at the midwife’s clinic, and that the midwife had been negligent in her care of the patient. The midwife was allowed to continue to practice midwifery but was required to undergo additional training and comply with other conditions (several complaints were allegedly received over the next three years regarding the midwife allegedly violating the conditions placed on her practice).
In 1998, the midwife allegedly failed to timely transplant a patient to the hospital after giving birth. The patient suffered cervical lacerations that required multiple blood transfusions and surgery. As a result, the midwife reportedly agreed to accept conditions on her midwife practice.
A pending investigation involves the birth of the midwife’s niece’s baby in the midwife’s car on the way to the midwife’s clinic, in July 2016. According to reports, despite the baby having been exposed to heroin in utero, the midwife cared for the newborn for two days while the baby had signs of withdrawal. Child Protective Services and law enforcement removed the child from home (the midwife failed to immediately notify Child Protective Services of the birth and waited until late the next day when she allegedly advised Child Protective Services that both the newborn and the mother were fine, with no signs of withdrawal; the midwife allegedly failed to advise the parents regarding the signs of opiate withdrawal, such as vigorous crying, poor feeding, jitteriness, and excessive sucking). When the baby was removed from the home and brought to the hospital, he was screened for opiates and cannabis, which came back positive. The midwife denies the allegations against her and claims that she did nothing wrong.
If your child suffered birth injuries that may be due to medical negligence by a midwife, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your midwife malpractice claim for you and represent you and your child in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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