Midwife Malpractice

Medical Negligence Lawyers Serving Residents of Upstate New York

Midwives manage normal pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care. They are supposed to only handle cases that are low-risk and without complications. However, sometimes midwives do handle high-risk pregnancies or a labor and delivery that turns out to have complications. Midwives are not trained to handle C-sections, for example. Generally, determinations related to difficulties during labor and delivery may need to be overseen by a qualified obstetrician. Unfortunately, midwife malpractice does occur in the Syracuse and Rochester areas, and it is important to consult an experienced Syracuse midwife malpractice lawyer to determine whether you may have a case.

Midwife Malpractice

Midwives do not have a medical degree, and many do not have nursing licenses. A licensed midwife is not necessarily a licensed nurse, and the law does not require a midwife to formally continue her education to practice. Furthermore, New York law does not require a midwife to buy malpractice insurance. Generally, a midwife is an independent practitioner who is supposed to consult with a doctor if there are complications during a pregnancy or childbirth.

However, the law does not require the doctor to supervise the midwife. Instead, under Education Law § 6951, the midwife needs to have a collaborative practice with a licensed board-certified OB-Gyn or hospital that provides obstetrics through a licensed physician with obis covered by a practice agreement. The agreement is supposed to identify pregnancies that are not considered normal and which procedures should be followed in that case. For example, if there is an emergency during delivery, what is to be done? There should be protocols in place. The collaborating doctor's judgment is used to decide whether the pregnancy is "normal."

In order to establish medical malpractice, you need to show that one or more health care providers deviated from accepted practice and provide evidence that this was a legal cause of injuries and damages. To do this, a midwife malpractice attorney in the Syracuse area will need to retain an expert to review the pertinent medical records and facts. Sometimes a midwife is negligent in failing to consult with a doctor about a high-risk pregnancy or to defer to a doctor's judgment. In other cases, they are incompetent, fail to recognize fetal distress, or fail to recognize a maternal health complication. In some cases, it is not possible to recover compensation from a midwife for malpractice because she is not required by law to have any insurance. In those cases, your attorney may look to see whether the collaborating physician deviated from the standard of care.

In one New York lawsuit involving a botched home birth of twins in which one twin was stillborn, a collaborating doctor was let off the hook because he was never involved in the care of the plaintiff during her pregnancy or labor and delivery. The midwife in that case admitted that she was the health care provider and that the doctor was her backup. The agreement in that case required the doctor to be available to the patient, but since the midwife never notified the doctor about facts that would indicate that he needed to be involved or that care needed to be transferred, he could not be held liable.

The plaintiff's expert testified that since the defendant was a collaborating doctor, he had a duty to oversee and manage the pregnancy and the labor and delivery procedure conducted by the midwife. He opined that the sonogram gave the doctor notice of the twins and the high-risk nature of the pregnancy. He faulted the doctor for not taking affirmative steps to be involved. However, the court disagreed with the plaintiff's expert. It explained that there was not any evidence that the doctor had cause to see the sonogram and records to know about the twins. The doctor was able to win on a summary judgment motion because there was no basis for his liability.

Consult a Skillful Syracuse Midwife Malpractice Attorney

You may be limited in your recovery if midwife malpractice causes birth injuries or harm to a mother. Still, each case is different, and it is important to get an opinion about the viability of your claim from a skillful litigator. If you are harmed due to midwife malpractice, you should consult us. Our law firm may be able to help you recover damages from responsible parties. We represent injured patients in Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, and all of Upstate New York. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form if you are interested in speaking with a midwife malpractice lawyer in Syracuse or the surrounding communities.

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