We’ve been looking in recent posts at the topic of home birth safety and the regulation of midwives. As we noted last time, there is only one type of midwife that is regulated in Michigan, and that is certified nurse midwives.
According to Safer Midwifery for Michigan, the exact rules governing a midwife’s practice depend on the specific practice setting. As we noted, the rules governing midwives are not specific to midwives and don’t specifically address out-of-hospital births. Different CNMs will, therefore, have different philosophies and scopes of practice. Midwives who practice in hospitals and in clinical settings may have rules and procedures they must follow, while those who practice in the home set their own rules.
This does not mean, however, that licensed midwives can get away with professional misconduct or negligence without consequences. First of all, nurse midwives who engage in professional misconduct may be disciplined by the state Board of Nursing. Second of all, it may be possible in some cases to hold a midwife liable for professional negligence.
Those who have been harmed as a result of the care of a nurse midwife in Michigan should not assume they have no recourse. Rather, they should consult with an experienced legal advocate to have their case evaluated and to determine potential opportunities for seeking compensation or otherwise seeking justice. One possibility, even in cases where malpractice litigation is not possible for one reason or another, is to file a complaint about a licensed midwife. We’ll look at this issue in our next post.