A midwife is a person trained to assist women in childbirth. While some choose to employ the services of a midwife, drawn to the benefit of a natural birth or more relaxed birthing process, midwives can make mistakes just like any other doctor, nurse, or medical professional. The specialized training and licensing required to be a midwife does not preclude midwives from failing to provide adequate care to mothers and newborns during and after labor and delivery. If you or your child suffered injuries resulting from errors by a midwife in New Jersey, our experienced team of attorneys can help. We assist families throughout New Jersey who have suffered harm as a result of negligence on the part of midwives and other healthcsre providers who are involved in the birthing process. We will thoroughly examine the circumstances of your child’s birth and associated medical records to uncover errors, which we use to build the most comprehensive case. Contact us today at 866-708-8617 for knowledgeable legal counsel and discuss your potential grounds for a birth injury claim.
Services and Requirements of Midwives
In order to become a practicing midwife in New Jersey, a person must first obtain a license from the state board of medical examiners. To obtain a license in the practice of midwifery, a person must pass a state-administered exam, either oral or written, and fulfill a variety of other requirements. A midwife must demonstrate knowledge and mastery in a broad range of areas, including:
- Diagnosis and management of pregnancy
- Diagnosis of fetal position and presentation
- Labor-related sepsis
- Newborn asphyxia
- Seizures in the newborn
- Infections and malformations that may affect the infant; and
- Abnormal conditions that may require care of a physician
It is important to note that a midwife cannot perform all of the tasks of a doctor or administer the extent of medical treatment provided by a physician. A midwife may elect to become certified to prescribe drugs if he or she so chooses. Regardless of their license and/or additional certification, it is the responsibility of the midwife to immediately contact and engage the services of a doctor if the newborn or mother presents any abnormal signs or symptoms.
Common Midwife Errors during Labor and Delivery
As is the case with any birth, there are a host of opportunities for midwives to make errors or fail to prevent complications, with the potential to cause permanent harm to the mother or child. Birth injuries caused by the negligence of a midwife are similar in nature to other forms of trauma that a newborn may sustain during the birthing process. Some of the most common forms of midwife error during birth include:
- Failure to adequately monitor the child while in still in the womb
- Failure to diagnose or treat infection
- Failure to diagnose or treat preeclampsia
- Failure to diagnose or treat gestational diabetes
- Failure to diagnose or respond to abnormalities during labor (such as fetal distress)
- Failure to recognize abnormal birth presentation or position
- Failure to seek help from a physician when complications arise
- Failure to consult a doctor about the potential need for a C-section
- Medication errors
- Improper use of pitocin
- Infant resuscitation errors
Any of the above errors and many others may cause permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and a myriad of other serious birth injuries. A negligent midwife’s mismanagement of maternal care may also result in severe injuries to the mother, including excessive bleeding, stroke, ruptured uterus, placental abruption, and physical trauma to the pelvic region.
Contact an Attorney for Help with Midwife Errors in New Jersey
If a negligent midwife was responsible for your child’s birth injury or you experienced injuries resulting from midwife errors during childbirth, it is essential to understand the legal options that may be available to you. Our skilled team of lawyers is well-equipped to handle cases involving birth trauma, as we have been assisting victims throughout New Jersey with obtaining compensation after these tragedies for years. To discuss your unique situation and find out how we may be able to assist you in bringing a legal action against a nurse-midwive or another healthcare provider, call 866-708-8617 or fill out an online form. Consultations are always provided at no cost to you, as is our representation unless we obtain you a recovery.
New Jersey Midwifery Law, NJ Division of Consumer Affairs