Two recent studies underscore the risk of birth injuries with a home delivery. The first study compared the mortality rate of home delivery with in-hospital delivery. Historically, the switch from home birth to hospital birth resulted in a 90% decrease in neonatal mortality and a 99% decrease in the deaths of mothers in childbirth. Home birth, however, has made a comeback and has proven to be relatively safe in Canada and the Netherlands. By contrast, home birth in the U.S. is dangerous, based on a study showing that the death rate for babies born at home with a midwife in attendance is seven times that of babies born in the hospital.
The rates of neonatal mortality also vary depending on the training of the midwife. This study showed that Certified Nurse Midwives (C.N.M.) have a better track record than Certified Professional Midwives (C.P.M.), with the latter having about twice as many babies die as the former. Not surprisingly, the practice standards for CNM-certified midwives are more in line with rigid international standards than the practice standards of CPM-certified midwives. Still, CNM-certified midwives have nearly double the mortality rate of in-hospital deliveries.
The second study showed that mothers, who have had a previous cesarean section, who give birth at home with a midwife attending have a 10-fold increase in risk of serious neurological injury to their baby, including seizures and brain injury from lack of oxygen resulting in cerebral palsy.
A medical negligence case may arise when a baby dies or is injured, or a mother is injured in the course of labor and delivery, while being attended to by a midwife. For a skilled Ohio birth injury lawyer, any investigation into such a case would include a careful review of medical records prepared by the midwife before, during and after the labor and delivery, as well as a careful and thorough interview of all witnesses to the delivery. In addition to determining whether the delivery was managed properly, records must be reviewed to determine whether there were risk factors that dictated that the mother should deliver in a hospital setting attended by high risk obstetric specialists and neonatology experts who are trained in resuscitating an oxygen-deprived newborn.
In addition, in light of the above studies, inquiry must be made into the background and training of the midwife. Likewise, it would be important to know whether the midwife accurately and fully disclosed the risks attendant to at-home delivery by a midwife.
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