Monday, October 20, 2008

CPM who presided over 2 deaths in 6 weeks reaches plea agreement

Kristina Zittle, the CPM who presided over 2 homebirth deaths in the span of 6 weeks (CPM presides over 2 separate deaths in 6 weeks) has agreed to surrender her license and not contest her suspension from the practice of direct entry midwifery. According to the Virginia Pilot:
A Virginia Beach woman has agreed to give up her state license to be a midwife rather than go before the Board of Medicine on allegations she failed to adequately treat two pregnant women whose babies were born dead.

Michael Goodman, an attorney for Kristina Zittle, said in an e-mail that Zittle "vehemently disagreed" with many of the allegations in the Board of Medicine notice that led to the suspension of her license in September.

He said she was able to sign a consent order without admitting or denying any of the allegations, and decided that was the best course at this time.

"She did not feel that she was financially equipped to battle this although she felt that most of the statements were either untrue or jumped to unfair conclusions," Goodman wrote in an e-mail sent on Monday.

Zittle was scheduled to go before the Board of Medicine for a formal hearing on Friday. A consent order relinquishing that right was signed by the Board of Medicine executive director William Harp last Friday, which made it public record.
I'm not surprised that she voluntarily entered into the agreement. Her lawyer almost certainly told her that she was going to lose her license anyway, and that the information entered into the public record during the hearing process would simply provide better high quality transcripts for the malpractice attorneys who will prosecute future malpractice suits against her.

From the Board's point of view, this was a victory. The entire purpose of the hearing process would have been to show that she was such an incompetent practitioner that she should be deprived of her license permanently. It is of no consequence to the Board whether she admits her culpability or not.

With cases like these, it's not surprising that the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) refuses to release the detailed safety statistics that it has collected. Their own statistics almost certainly show that homebirth increases the risk of neonatal death.


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