Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Mother Dies After Giving Birth at Home With Nurse Midwife

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Dec 03, 2018 | 0 Comments

Amanda Garbacz had her life moving in a positive direction in 2013. She had recently graduated from college and gotten engaged. Months later she found out that she was pregnant. She was in good overall health and her early prenatal appointments were fine. The couple moved to a more rural area during the pregnancy. After having difficulty locating an OB/GYN, she entered an agreement with Alternative Birth Choices, a provider of midwife services. The delivery was planned to occur at her home. On the day she gave birth what was originally a joyous occasion turned somber as Garbacz died shortly after giving birth.

Midwife's Skills Questioned

Lindsey Cooper became a licensed midwife in Arkansas. The report implies that she demonstrated poor reactionary skills during Amanda's delivery complications. After Amanda' baby was delivered she began losing significant amounts of blood. Cooper stated that it was not a major concern. They then attempted to retrieve her placenta, yet it did not come out.

Signs of Complications

The placenta is usually delivered in the minutes following the delivery of the baby but often may take a bit longer. Amanda continued to claim that she was not feeling well. As concerns escalated, an ambulance was summoned to take her to a local hospital. Upon arrival she was “cool and clammy” and the placenta was delivered after about one hour. Shortly thereafter she collapsed while being assisted by her mother and was unable to be revived. A civil suit is expected in the coming months.

At Home Birth Data

Midwives have been promoting the safety of at-home deliveries as an alternative to the hospital for years. Some recent data suggest that this may be a safety risk:

  • Babies in the U.S. are nearly twice as likely to die in the first month if delivered at home rather than at a hospital
  • Federal data was collected regarding over 30 million births from 2006 to 2015
  • This study found that babies delivered at home with a midwife are three times more likely to have complications
  • In Texas, babies delivered by a nurse midwife in a hospital had a death rate of 4.3 per 10,000 births
  • During the same period, babies delivered at home by a nurse-midwife died at a rate of 7.0 per 10,000 births

Certified Nurse Midwife

A certified nurse midwife (CNM) is involved in activity associated with female reproduction and performs various general screenings during prenatal periods. These professionals may face potential claims of medical liability when problems occur. A CNM should maintain sufficient malpractice liability insurance. The cost of this coverage varies according to a number of factors. Those in group practices are more likely to have lower premiums. The insurance rates tend to increase as the CNM gains more experience and begins to deliver more babies.

Birth Complications

The leading reason for maternal mortality in childbirth is pre-existing heart conditions. There are many reasons why a woman may have a high-risk pregnancy. Doctors typically are well trained in coping with most complications that may occur. Some of the other maternal characteristics that can create problems include high blood pressure, diabetes, and anemia.

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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