Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Death of baby attended by unlicensed midwife exposes lack of qualified midwives in rural areas
"Gabriel Marin III was delivered stillborn June 15 at 4:15 a.m. at full term at Walla Walla General Hospital after complications arose during a home labor attended" by Oregon midwife Sherry Dress, according to the death certificate, Hagar writes. Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood "said he and others believe the infant would have lived if Dress had acted differently as she guided the labor."
"The cause of baby Gabriel’s death is listed as prolonged labor with fetal hypoxia, or inadequate oxygen," Hagar writes. "Other complications included the baby’s failure to descend through the mother’s pelvis during labor, plus too much carbon dioxide in his blood. Greenwood said the end came long after the beginning. Under Dress’ direction for most of the time, Magill labored about 55 hours at home before going to Walla Walla General Hospital for an emergency cesarean section. When the couple and Dress arrived at General Hospital, the unborn infant still had heart tones. The move to the hospital came at the insistence of Magill’s family." Greenwood told Hagar, "I think a normal midwife would have sent (Magill) to the hospital." Dress has yet to be charged with any crimes but is under investigation.
One of the problems is a lack of education about midwives, Hagar writes. When Sarah Magill and Gabe Marin hired Dress they did not know she had been barred from practicing in Washington two years earlier. "Magill said she wishes she knew before hiring Dress what she knows now about midwives and what to watch for, including if a midwife is in compliance with the law and is guided by health-care standards."
"In the U.S., two types of midwives are generally recognized under most state laws," Hagar writes. "Certified nurse midwives are trained in nursing, often at advanced practice levels, and in midwifery. They typically work in a hospital setting. Licensed direct-entry midwives, sometimes called lay midwives, train through a midwifery school, apprenticeship or self-study. They work in homes or independent birth centers." (Read more)