West Palm Beach Midwife Medical Malpractice Attorney
In today’s day and age, more and more women are shying away from hospital births. For a variety of reasons, women are eschewing the hospital birthing rooms and physicians in favor of having their children at home, with the help of a midwife. However, midwives are just as prone to making mistakes as other medical professionals are; they are all human. If you or someone you love is having a homebirth or has experienced adverse consequences after a home birth, it is important to know the differences between the rules governing midwives versus the rules governing other medical professionals.
Midwives – Training & Credentials
There are approximately twelve thousand midwives in the U.S. as of the most recent data collected (2014). The overwhelming majority of them are Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) as opposed to Certified Midwives (CMs), which means that CNMs receive slightly different and more specialized training than CMs. The credential of a Certified Midwife is also somewhat newer than a CNM, so its parameters are not yet fully articulated in every state. CMs are not currently licensed to practice in Florida, only CNMs.
While many CNMs have a practice focused exclusively on women’s reproductive health, many operate in a similar fashion to regular nurses or doctors. Their training is actually very similar to that undertaken by physicians, and approximately 5% of CNMs have doctoral degrees (though usually in midwifery, which is a PhD, not a Doctor of Medicine). All this means that midwives are extensively educated and provide exemplary service to their patients – most of the time.
Florida-Specific Midwife Law
Medical malpractice is generally defined as a medical professional’s failure to adhere to the prevailing or appropriate standard of care practiced by professionals of reasonable skill and experience. However, certain professionals are specifically regulated a bit more in various states. Midwifery is regulated in Florida in a slightly different fashion than physicians or nurse practitioners.
Florida Statute §467.015 states clearly that midwives in Florida may only provide care for expectant mothers who foresee a normal pregnancy and delivery. If a woman has risk factors or potential complications for herself and her baby, by law, the midwife must refer that woman back to a qualified physician. Also, midwives are required to prepare and obtain a patient’s signature on a written “action plan” before commencing treatment. If a patient becomes “high risk” during care, they may continue treatment, but only while working collaboratively with a doctor.
Either of those requirements for care being broken is potentially grounds for a malpractice suit. A midwife, especially a highly trained CNM, is subject to largely the same malpractice grounds as a doctor would be. If the midwife acts in a negligent manner toward their patient – and disobeying or ignoring the law of the state of Florida is arguably negligent in itself – they will likely be found to have committed malpractice, possibly entitling that patient to compensation.
Legal Professionals Who Care
Being a victim of malpractice from any medical professional can turn your life upside down. The experienced midwife malpractice attorneys at Gary Roberts & Associates know how to help you handle life as it comes, while competently and professionally pursuing your rights. We have medical experts on staff, and are willing to work around your schedule in order to serve you better. We are also able to accommodate those who prefer to speak Spanish. Contact our West Palm Beach office for a free initial consultation today.