Yesterday approximately 10,000 people followed a Facebook thread where Jan Tritten, editor of Midwifery Today, crowd sourced a life or death obstetric decision at the exact same time that the baby suffocated to death. Judging by my private email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, many homebirth advocates and homebirth midwives were deeply distressed by the incident, Jan’s behavior, the baby’s death, Jan’s response, the desperation of some homebirth midwives to absolve Jan from accountability, and, of course, Jan’s deletion of the entire thread.
I could offer reams of statistics about the hideous death rate at homebirth, and I often do, but no one does a better job of demonstrating the ignorance, incompetence and gross lack of professionalism than homebirth midwives themselves. Jan Tritten exquisitely and painfully demonstrated my adage that homebirth midwives bury babies twice; first in little coffins in the ground, and once again by trying to erase their lives and senseless deaths from public consciousness.
There were some minor consolations to the thread. Homebirth midwives and advocates spent hours arguing and interacting with me, and others similarly outraged by Tritten’s behavior. No one was turned to stone, became radioactive or was otherwise permanently harmed by engaging with me. I daresay that some people actually learned some things.
To any homebirth midwives and homebirth advocates who were willing to engage or even just read along I offer this: You are welcome to post here anytime, with any questions, or even just to argue. Your comments will not be deleted. They will be addressed. We may be on opposite sides of the debate, but we’re on the same side when it comes to saving the lives of babies.
To them and to everyone else, I also offer this: A petition to express our outrage and revulsion at Tritten’s decision to crowd source a life or death decision on Facebook, the death of the baby, the utter absence of any attempt to hold anyone to account, and the immediate deletion of the thread that exposed Tritten’s grossly unprofessional behavior.
You can find the petition at Change.org.
It is addressed to Jan Tritten:
We wish to express our revulsion at your unprofessional behavior and the resulting death of a baby.
And goes on to explain:
Jan Tritten, Editor of Midwifery Today, crowd sourced a life or death decision on Facebook, and a baby died.
American homebirth midwives are the only healthcare providers who have literally no safety standards and, therefore, no accountability. Recent publications, including statistics from the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), the organization that represents homebirth midwives, reveal that homebirth increases the risk of death of the baby by 450% of more. High risk homebirths (breech, VBAC, twins) had even higher death rates.
Despite these hideous death rates, no homebirth midwifery organization or executive has made any recommendations to improve safety. Indeed, homebirth advocates in both Arizona and Hawaii are currently arguing to enlarge scope of practice to include the EXACT SAME high risk conditions that homebirth midwives have demonstrated in their own paper to be utterly unsafe at homebirth.
It is time for the leaders of American homebirth midwifery, including Jan Tritten in her role as Editor of Midwifery Today, to acknowledge the death toll of homebirth, to investigate why these deaths are occuring and to hold the midwives involved to account.
Please take a moment to sign the petition. Tritten will receive an email each time someone signs.
We had tremendous success with our petition to force MANA to release its homebirth deaths rates. Perhaps we can have equal success at preventing more homebirth deaths.