Midwife Jessica Weed has helpfully provided yet another example in the seemingly endless parade of homebirth midwives who demonstrate emphatically that the CPM (certified professional midwife) credential is completely inadequate and should be abolished.
The stories share the same pattern over and over again:
1. High risk candidate taken on for homebirth? Check.
2. Serious injury (or death) for baby or mother or both? Check
3. Midwife tries to convince mother to lie about midwife’s presence? Check.
This time, however, the debacle ended with the arrest of the homebirth midwife, who is now facing felony charges.
According to Alberquerque TV station KRQE:
According to a criminal complaint, six days after Weed helped deliver a friend’s baby, the infant and mother were admitted into UNM Hospital.
Doctors say the baby had bleeding in the brain and retinas, and the mom still had not delivered the placenta which caused an infection.
The complaint says Weed asked the mother to write a letter and tell hospital officials she did not help with the delivery.
The mother finally told hospital workers the truth.
You can view the TV report here:
Even for a homebirth midwife, this represents an egregious case of negligence. The baby was so profoundly injured by the breech birth that he experienced bleeding his brain and his retinas, yet the midwife did not transfer him to the hospital. The mother retained the placenta within her uterus for DAYS (and, not surprisingly, developed an infection) yet the midwife did not transfer the patient to the hospital. The fact that Weed went so far as to insist that the mother write a letter insisting that she was not present at the delivery indicates that she understood her culpability and wanted to hide it.
Way to go, CPM!
The baby faces permanent brain damage, blindness and possibly death and the CPM is apparently more worried about her fate than that of an innocent newborn.
The mother faces a major infection, possible sepsis and possible loss of her uterus and the CPM is apparently more concerned about her fate than that of the mother.
It is unethical to lie about involvement in a medical case and it is unethical to pressure the mother to lie, but the CPM apparently places her own interests anything so mundane as ethical behavior.
And let’s not forget the other feature commonly associated with a horrific outcome at a CPM attended homebirth.
4. The local midwifery association supports the midwife, not the baby and not the mother.
According to the Alberquerque Journal:
An advocacy group for New Mexico midwives responded Monday by calling the arrest an unprecedented move that threatens to worsen a shortage of maternity care in the state…
The New Mexico Midwives Association issued a written statement Monday saying that licensed health care providers are regulated under civil law and that it is extremely rare for medical personnel to be criminally charged.
“If we used criminal law to hold health care providers responsible for their patients’ outcomes, our prison system would be overwhelmed,” Cassaundra Jah, a spokeswoman for the association, is quoted in the statement.
“If we are telling providers that they not only risk being sued, but arrested and put in jail for anything less than a perfect outcome, then we can expect to see an exodus of maternity and other health care professionals leaving our state,” Jah said.
I can’t comment on the appropriateness of filing felony charges of child abuse in this setting, but something must be done to hold this woman accountable.
Homebirth kills and hurts babies and mothers. Certified professional midwives (CPM) lack the education and training needed to prevent these disasters. The CPM credential must be abolished.