Using midwives to assist births is becoming more popular in the United States. Midwives can provide a more patient-focused experience. Like doulas, they are focused on emotional and physical support for the mother. Using midwives has been linked to lower cesarean section rates, higher birth weights, and less obstetric intervention. However, birth is an inherently risky process, and things can go wrong. What happens if your midwife contributed to a birth injury?
Ohio Doesn’t License Midwives
While many states do license and regulate midwifery, Ohio does not. Although nurses can be registered as certified nurse midwives, they usually do not assist in home births for insurance and liability reasons. While you can still have a home birth and hire a midwife, you should be aware that they likely do not have comparable medical training—and they certainly have not passed state licensing exams.
Granted, not every birth requires medical intervention. Many women have perfectly safe home births every day. However, the lack of licensure presents liability concerns if a birth injury were to occur.
Can I Sue My Midwife for a Birth Injury?
In states where midwives are required to have licenses, they can be sued for medical malpractice. In Ohio, however, the lack of licensure makes malpractice claims difficult, if not impossible. That’s because there is no professional standard of care to which the midwife’s care can be compared.
Why is this important? In a medical malpractice claim against a licensed doctor or nurse, your attorney would compare the professional’s actions to what a reasonable doctor or nurse should have done in the same situation. They would look at professional standards, licensing requirements, and may seek testimony from a medical expert—all ways to discern what a similar medical professional would have, could have, and should have done in that situation. Since there’s no professional standard for Ohio midwifery, it’s difficult to prove that a midwife’s actions were negligent.
This means that mothers and infants who have suffered birth injuries at the hands of a midwife may not have any legal or financial recourse. That means that the bills for medical treatment will almost certainly fall on the parents’ shoulders.
However, if you or your infant have suffered a birth injury during a midwife-assisted birth, you should still discuss your case with a personal injury attorney. There may be other options you can pursue.
Talk to an Ohio Birth Injury Attorney About Your Case
If you or your infant have suffered a birth injury, you may be able to recover compensation for your pain and suffering. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at 877.944.4373 today to learn whether you have a cause of action.