In recent posts, we’ve been looking at the topic of home birth, the regulation and discipline of midwives in Michigan, and seeking compensation when a midwife acts negligently and something goes wrong. As we mentioned last time, licensed midwives can face both professional discipline and charges of negligence.
Taken together, there are several options available to a patient who has been harmed by a negligent midwife, depending on the status of the midwife. For certified nurse midwives, a complaint can be filed with the state to determine whether disciplinary action through the Board of Nursing is appropriate. Civil litigation for malpractice or negligence may also be a possibility, as we’ve noted, though this is more likely to be a productive course of action when the midwife carries malpractice insurance.
Another potential avenue of recourse for a patient who has been harmed by a negligent midwife is to report the midwife to his or her professional organization, if there is one. Examples include the North American Registry of Midwives and the American Midwifery Certification Board. Such reporting gives the organization the opportunity to take appropriate action with respect to the practitioner and/or its curriculum.
A final possibility in some cases will be to report the incident to law enforcement for potential criminal investigation. Criminal charges may apply in cases where a midwife’s actions constituted a violation of health laws carrying criminal sanctions.
Regardless of the circumstances of the case, those who’ve been harmed by a midwife should consult an experienced attorney to determine their options and prepare an appropriate case.