Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Homeopathy and Midwife Blamed in Death of Mother

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Oct 04, 2016 | 0 Comments

Many mothers have been unhappy with how doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies treat them when they go through pregnancy and giving birth. They feel like doctors do not defer to their choices and do not listen to them, and as a result, they not receive the care they are looking for. This causes many parents to seek out alternative birthing options, including home births. Unfortunately, home birth options can still be dangerous for young mothers, especially when things go wrong.

Caroline Lovell, of Melbourne, Australia, planned to give birth to her second child at home. Helping her through the process was the midwife and registered nurse, Gaye Demanuele. After going into labor, the 36-year-old Lovell successfully gave birth to her daughter. However, she continued losing blood and knew that something was wrong. Lovell begged Demanuele to call for an ambulance, but she refused. Hours later, Lovell was dead.

Lovell continued to lose blood while Demanuele used homeopathy to try and reduce anxiety. Lovell's body shut down from blood loss and she eventually fainted in a pool of her own blood, suffering a cardiac arrest. It was only then that she was taken to a hospital, where she died hours later. An investigation found that Demanuele's bias against traditional medical intervention contributed to Lovell's death.

After an investigation into the young mother's death, officials found that Lovell's death was entirely preventable. According to the coroner's report, Lovell suffered a postpartum hemorrhage that Demanuele failed to notice. Demanuele also failed to monitor blood pressure or properly examine her patient. The coroner recommended prosecutors examine whether to pursue criminal charges against Demanuele.

The coroner has also asked for a review of midwives in home births and to consider whether to ban unregistered health practitioners from participating in home births for profit. Lovell's prior complications related to her first birth should have been seen as red flags to Demanuele. However, because Demanuele had been involved in other incidents of questionable home birth practices, the coroner also suggested that the regulatory system may also have failed Lovell because they allowed these types of home births.

Six months earlier, Demanuele participated in another home birth where the child was stillborn. The mother had asked for an ambulance; however, Demanuele discouraged her, saying the ambulance would be expensive. Demanuele also participated in a home birth where a baby boy died from severe brain damage due to lack of oxygen to the brain.

Last year, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council's in-depth research into homeopathic practices found zero support in over 1,800 studies. The review found “no support that homeopathy works better than a placebo, or causes improvements equal to those of another treatment.”

If you or a loved one has been injured or harmed as the result of negligent medical care, the Gilman & Bedigian team of experienced attorneys is fully equipped to handle your claim. Our staff includes a physician and attorneys with decades of malpractice litigation experience. We focus on getting you compensation for your injuries so you can focus on getting better and moving forward with your life.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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