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Filing a Home Birth Injury Malpractice Claim


A home birth malpractice suit may be filed against a negligent midwife who causes injury to the child or mother during the labor and delivery process. Midwifery’s status under Ohio law is not clearly defined, but the practice is not prohibited. However, having a baby at home can pose serious risks.

Some home births – even those with midwives in attendance – may result in serious injury or death if women and babies do not receive the medical care they need. Pregnant women should be fully informed about the home birth process and choose a reputable midwife. In the event that a home birth causes serious harm, a birth injury claim for home birth malpractice may be filed with help from an medical malpractice lawyer.

Home birthing is actually on the rise. It has grown by 29 percent between 2004 and 2009 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2009, there were 29,650 home births in the United States. Less than 1 percent of births occur at home. Of these, 62 percent involve assistance from a midwife (19 percent by certified nurse midwives and 43 percent by other midwives like certified professional or direct-entry midwives). Meanwhile, 4.8 percent were attended by a physician.

Risks of Home Birth

There have been many instances where babies are severely injured or die because of improperly planned home births. This may be the result of lackluster care provided by a poorly trained or unqualified midwife, or lack of access to proper medical equipment. In the event of unforeseen complications, a home birth may not allow immediate access to necessary equipment or medical expertise of a physician.

A midwife who does not discuss and disclose the various risks associated with home birth with the patient may be considered to have acted negligently. Other circumstances may also indicate the negligence of a midwife and could lead to a home birth malpractice case.

Midwife Negligence

Just as a woman delivering in a hospital can sue the doctor for birth injuries, a birth injury claim may also be filed against a midwife. Midwife negligence may take various forms, including:

  • False credentials – This may be the case if a midwife presents fraudulent credentials or misrepresents his or her qualifications to perform a home birth.
  • Ignoring warning signs – In an effort to produce a home birth, some midwives may ignore or cover up any signs of medical complications. This can place the mother and child in great danger.
  • No emergency proceduresMidwives should always have an emergency plan in place in case the labor does not progress or the baby shows signs of distress. This may involve bringing the pregnant woman to the hospital to allow her to deliver there.

Filing a Claim with Help from an Elyria Medical Malpractice Lawyer

A home birth malpractice claim may be complicated if the midwife does not carry malpractice insurance. This may make recover of damages more difficult, as the midwife may not have the assets to cover damages caused by his or her negligence.

Parents whose babies were victims of birth injuries following home births may wish to seek legal help to recover compensation. An Elyria medical malpractice lawyer at The Becker Law Firm can provide consultation regarding birth injury claims and discuss the potential for a home birth malpractice claim against a midwife. Call us: (440) 252-4399.

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