Last week I wrote about two Idaho homebirth midwives, Colleen and Jerusha Goodwin, who lost their licenses after presiding over 3 homebirth deaths in less than a year.
Both midwives have had their licenses suspended. They deserve far worse. There is not a single mitigating factor in any of these 3 deaths. All three involved gross malpractice as well interfering with transport and lying by the midwives.
These women should be in jail. But, in the world of homebirth advocacy, a pile of dead bodies is nothing more than an inconvenience. Predictably, homebirth advocates are rallying in support of these midwives.
I thought that the situation was appalling. Now comes word that there was a FOURTH incident that occurred in 2008 and resulted in an infant with a profound brain injury due to lack of oxygen. The Goodwins have just settled the resulting lawsuit for $5 million.
According to OregonLive:
Two midwives have agreed to a $5 million settlement with a couple who sued them for medical malpractice after their baby suffered permanent brain damage, an attorney said Monday.
Coleen Goodwin and her daughter, Jerusha Goodwin, reached the agreement to avoid a jury trial, said Eric Rossman, attorney for Adam and Victoria Nielson. The trial had been set to begin on Monday in Boise.
The Goodwins, who own a birthing center in Meridian, Idaho, had their licenses to practice midwifery suspended last month after three babies died. The cases that led to their suspensions were separate from the Nielson’s claim.
The Nielsons said their daughter was born without oxygen at The Baby Place in June 2008, leading to permanent brain damage.
“If we had to go to jury trial today, I think a jury verdict would have reflected what they stipulated, if not more,” Rossman said shortly after the agreement was reached.
It’s unlikely that the parents will ever see any money from the settlement.
Rossman said it’s likely that the Goodwins will seek bankruptcy protection.
Whether or not they receive money, the Nielsons have accomplished something extremely important. They have succeeded in holding homebirth midwives accountable for their negligence. The have made sure that these birth criminals are not free to devastate other families. And they have alerted the public to the dangers of homebirth.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the biggest mistake that homebirth midwives have made is their attempt to popularize homebirth. The true homebirth believers might be willing to tolerate dead and damaged babies, but average women lulled by lies about homebirth safety will not. They will file complaints; they will sue; they will organize; and ultimately, they will force state governments to respond by regulating these self proclaimed “midwives” out of existence.