Monday, November 19, 2007

Midwife pleads guilty in homebirth death

They "trusted" birth and a baby is dead.

From the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle:
A local lay midwife charged with involuntary manslaughter and practicing medicine without a license pleaded guilty Friday...

Court records indicate that Merrill allowed Randi Peterson to have a ruptured membrane 33 hours before delivery. According to the affidavit, Merrill never suggested or recommended medical care after the birth of Maggie Peterson, which led to the baby’s death.
An earlier news report provided additional details of the case:
Susan Merrill, is charged with the death of Maggie Peterson, the baby of Randy and Eric Peterson. According to the affidavit, the Peterson's claim that in April of 2006, their baby was delivered by Merrill in a Cheyenne motel 33 hours after Randi's bag of water ruptured causing their baby to become infected and die as they traveled home to Nebrasks 18 hours after the birth. The affidavit goes on to suggest that Merrill did not provide appropriate treatment or care for the mother or baby by suggesting or recommending referral for medical care that might have prevented the baby's death. Merrill is charged with practicing medicine without a license and involuntary manslaughter. Merrill claims that she advised the parents not to travel home.
Deborah Pulley, CPM, Legislative Chair for the Midwives Alliance, posted a comment encouraging "Wyoming to consider legislation that regulates midwives who practice predominantly in out-of-hospital settings ..." Here's the comment that I posted:
Why is MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America) keeping secret its information on the safety of homebirth? According to their own publications, MANA has been keeping detailed statistics on homebirth from 2001 to the present day. The statistics are available only to those who can prove that they will use them for the "advancement of midwifery" and, even then, they must sign a legal non-disclosure agreement promising not to reveal the data to anyone else.

What is MANA hiding? The need for secrecy suggests that MANA's statistics show that homebirth has a neonatal death rate substantially higher than hospital birth. MANA has an ethical obligation to release the homebirth statistics to the general public.


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