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Midwife Malpractice Lawsuits


Most people understand what happens when a doctor or nursing staff cause an avoidable injury to one of their patients. But what happens when a midwife is involved? It’s true that birth injuries are among the most common kinds of medical malpractice lawsuits, but with more women opting to have their children with the aid of midwives instead of in hospitals, what recourse do those injured have in terms recovery?

Couple Awarded $5 Million in Midwife Malpractice Lawsuit 

A couple was recently awarded $5 million after their baby died in a breech delivery. While a judgment was entered against the midwife nurse, Clarice Winkler, it is likely that the couple will never see anywhere near the $5 million that they are owed. This is because the nurse elected not to carry medical malpractice insurance.

In fact, Winkler never showed up for the court proceedings or entered any kind of defense. The verdict was issued by default.

The midwives attempted to deliver the breech baby in their “birth center”. But they lacked the facilities or expertise to do so properly.

After the judgment, the three nurse midwives named in the lawsuit filed for bankruptcy. The “birth center” is now shut down. The couple will not be able to recover any damages once the debt is discharged in Chapter 7.

Caveat Emptor 

The tale told above is a cautionary one. While not all midwives are alike, it is important, as a patient, to ensure that the ones who will be delivering your baby do carry malpractice insurance if something goes wrong. While midwives are not required by law to carry malpractice insurance, they are often insured under the facility’s policy. In this case, they were not.

Midwife Malpractice Lawsuits 

It’s important to remember that midwives are beholden to standards of care like other heatlhcare professional. Unfortunately, one’s ability to may them compensate victims depends on whether or not they have personal or umbrella coverage. It is all too easy for a midwife who has been hit with a major verdict, like the one mentioned above, to discharge the debt in bankruptcy and leave the couple without compensation for their loss. Indeed, the midwives never even had to face a judge or answer for their negligence.

Midwife malpractice happens most often when the CNM fails to recognize the complexity of a problem, and midwives attempt to deliver the baby without hospital intervention. Parents who are lured with the hope of a “natural” birth may not recognize the services that medical doctors and surgeons can provide. For instance, a CNM cannot perform a c-section. Yet, this is precisely what could have saved the child’s life. The case should have been referred to a hospital immediately when it was discovered that the birth was a breech.

Talk to a St. Petersburg Medical Malpractice Attorney 

The St. Petersburg attorney at the office of Masterson & Hoag, P.A. have helped Florida residents after a doctor or hospital failed to follow the standard of care. If you’ve been injured, please give us a call or talk to us online.



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