Homebirth midwife Lisa Barrett arrested and charged with manslaughter

Enlight3

Finally!!

We’ve waited a long time for the image above. It’s photo of homebirth midwife Lisa Barrett in handcuffs, arrested in connection with the deaths of babies in her care.

She faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Controversial homebirth advocate Lisa Barrett has been granted bail after she was charged with two counts of manslaughter on Tuesday.

As part of her bail conditions, Ms Barrett cannot undertake or promote midwifery. She also cannot be present at any birth.

Deputy Chief Magistrates Andrew Cannon ordered Ms Barrett not to contact witnesses, and to take down her homebirth website, reported the Advertiser.

She was released on $10,000 bail with her husband Jeremy as guarantor.

Barrett has presided over at least 5 homebirth deaths from 2007-2012, been scathingly reprimanded by a Coroner and been the subject of an Australian Supreme Court case.

In the wake of the deaths it was thought that a criminal prosecution of Barrett would be unsuccessful, but then evidence of a cover up was found, involving alleged destruction of evidence and alleged perjured testimony directed by Barrett.

Barrett’s actions nearly defy belief.

Tate Spencer-Koch, Jahli Jean Hobbs, Sam, Tully Kavanaugh and Ian died because Lisa Barrett minimized the risks of homebirth when counseling their mothers, all of whom were at high risk for complications. Of these deaths, 1 was a shoulder dystocia, 2 were second twins, and 2 were breech babies. They died because Lisa Barrett could not handle the complications that were predicted. They died because their mothers did not have the Cesareans that would have saved the babies lives.

The practice of homebirth is notable for its recklessness, but even so Lisa Barrett was in a class by herself. During the Coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Tate and Jahli Jean, Barrett was caught live tweeting the proceedings and offering scathing comments about the prosecution’s case. If that weren’t contemptuous enough, Barrett also managed to find the time to attend Tully’s homebirth death. As a result, the Coroner’s inquest was expanded to include both Tully’s death and Sam’s death.

The report, released in 2012 was scathing in its assessment of Barrett’s conduct, including:

  • idiosyncratic views as to risk.
  • the seemingly unshakeable dogma that an adverse outcome in the homebirth setting would inevitably have occurred in a hospital setting in any event and that the professional services that are available within a hospital would not have altered the outcome.
  • Ms Barrett’s tendency to contradict or deny established evidence-based opinion.
  • Ms Barrett’s general position [on macrosomia] is at odds with the written material that Ms Barrett herself produced in evidence.
  • Much of Ms Barrett’s evidence about the desirability or otherwise of a vaginal delivery of a breech birth in the home setting was premised on a number of questionable views that she steadfastly appears to hold.
  • Ms Barrett went so far as to say that it would be impossible to tell whether a planned caesarean section would have resulted in the child being born alive. She goes so far as to suggest that the risks associated with caesarean section are higher than the risks of vaginal birth and that the risk associated with caesarean section and the morbidity and mortality of breech is the same in vaginal birth and caesarean section … This opinion is simply manifestly incorrect. It causes me to doubt the genuineness of other assertions made by Ms Barrett …

To my knowledge, during the years when these deaths were taking place, up to and including the time during which she was being investigate, Barrett never expressed remorse for these deaths. Indeed, she primarily felt sorry for herself, as she expressed on her blog Homebirth: A Midwife Mutiny:

They have raided my house so I no longer have a computer or a telephone, my husband can’t carry on his business as they took his computer and the children can’t do their school projects as they took their computer too… All for a political agenda, to scare and humilitate…

Nonetheless, in the wake of a $20,000 fine, Barrett appeared to have given up attending births and apparently believed that the babies’ deaths had been forgotten.

As she returned to her picturesque Adelaide Hills property of five years without comment last night, her distressed children told how the family had “thought it had all blown over” and had been shocked by the dawn raid.

Apparently it hadn’t “blown over.”

If convicted, Barrett faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Considering at least 5 babies are dead at her hands, that doesn’t seem excessive.

  • D/

    OT but karma-related note:

    It seems Kathy Dettwyler, lactivist-extraordinaire, has fallen into a bit of viral attention this weekend, had to lock her Facebook page down, and is catching all sorts of Amazon “book review” grief over a fb statement about Otto Warmbier. http://bit.ly/2s9WKUO

    She’s always been a vicious piece of work regarding breastfeeding and IMO deserves a sufficient-enough case of losing her public voice to cause some major self reflection. An example of Kathy’s breastfeeding advocacy for those who may be unfamiliar:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ddd5ba812709120dd1b2ceb534360ee0c6ab4af11d7d33d8b0078b89be135221.jpg

    • Heidi_storage

      So she finally picked the wrong target for her nastiness, eh? Too bad there wasn’t the same kind of outcry when she directed her viciousness at vulnerable mothers (and babies), but at least she’s feeling the heat now.

    • Melaniexxxx

      WOW. What a horrible horrible person

  • Mattie

    Did you read the article? There were parts that were quite reasonable I think, especially the reminder that one of the main roles of midwives is to appropriately assess, reassess, and manage risk

  • attitude devant

    Looks like Lisa dropped the dreadlocks….

    BTW, anyone know what Annie Bourgeault is up to now? Lisa attended her twin birth, where Twin B (like Tully) died. And I saw her in a documentary, using her husband’s last name and another first name (maybe her middle name?) on a speaking tour with Lisa about ‘birth freedom’ and women’s rights to be just as stupid as she was. But I lost track of her after that.

    • attitude devant

      Dr. Amy, can you link to the piece you did on Annie? It was while she was pregnant with the twins, and when you were under your old hosting site. Somehow I can’t find it.

  • mle

    Finally.

  • yugaya

    According to Lisa Barrett’s website she averaged 5 breech births per year. She killed 2 breech babies during the four years 2008-2011. http://www.homebirth.net.au/2008/03/breech-variation-of-normal.html

    10% death rate for breech babies delivered at home by Lisa Barrett.

    According to her own report Ina May Gaskin killed 4 out of 43 breech babies that she delivered at The Farm during the period 1970-1995. https://books.google.hu/books/content?id=UNQD0pAg1RsC&pg=PA404&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U3_yX9pL8EkPIvaQ1ffkKQzH6RYGA&w=1025

    10% death rate for breech babies delivered at The Farm by Ina May Gaskin.

    Both of these birth psychopaths are hailed as NCB’s finest vaginal breech birth *experts*.

    For comparison: In 1970’s mortaliy for breech hospital birth in USA was 1%-3%. http://www.comtecmed.com/cogi/cogi5/abstracts/Artal_Vaginal.doc

    Nowadays with medically indicated CS for breech babies worldwide after Term Breech Trial , breech babies are at no greater risk of death during childbirth than perfectly positioned head down babies.

    • LaMont

      They are okay with 10% because “most will be fine” and having medical oversight and possible c-sections will result in damaged children not worth raising and impossible to bond with. 🙁

      • yugaya

        Risk of losing a healthy term baby intrapartum is 0.3 per 1000 in industrialized world countries, similar to the risk of death for a carefully selected and strictly risked out candidates for vaginal breech birth in a hospital according to ACOG and SCOG guidelines: https://sogc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/gui226CPG0906.pdf

        How barbaric and unethical is 10% or 100 in 1000 homebirth vaginal breech birth death rate that Lisa Barrett and Ina May Gaskin achieved? The only risk comparable to that is the risk of death due to playing Russian roulette (12%).

    • MaineJen

      So breech vag birth with no medical care (I consider Lisa and Ina to be “no medical care”): 10% death rate.

      Breech vag birth in hospital: 1-3% death rate.

      Breech by C section: just as safe as perfectly positioned, head down vag birth.

      Only a heartless sadistic sociopath would be advising women to go with door #1.

    • Sue

      “According to Lisa Barrett’s website she averaged 5 breech births per year.”

      In safe professional practice, procedures that are risky should only be performed by real experts, who maximise their exposure – not one case every few months. “Expert”.

  • She is a serial killer

  • Sue

    Thanks to the inexorable process of the Australian justice system, these deaths have not “blown over”. For all its imperfections, the system is doing its job. Kudos to the investigative officers who persisted.

    • attitude devant

      ‘inexorable’ Sue, I love you.

      • Sue

        🙂

  • Guest

    OT: Another midwife ignores a mother who wants to call 911. https://www.reddit.com/r/BabyBumps/comments/6i9wae/home_birth_story_sebastian_jude/

    • Heidi_storage

      Argh! “Did my research” “home birth as safe as hospital birth”; grrrrr! Pain, helplessness, and lots of intervention–just what she didn’t want. I’m glad she and the kid are okay, but I wish it hadn’t happened.

    • Madtowngirl

      I do not understand how midwives can do this shit. If someone wants you to call 911, fucking call 911! Would you tell a person bleeding out on the sidewalk that “well most people with this type of injury ask to go to the hospital, but they don’t really need it”? That’s the most enraging part of this story to me!

      • androidsdream

        I find it extremely patronising. The thinking seems to be “She doesn’t *really* want to go to hospital and she’ll regret it later if we transfer. She’s not thinking rationally about her true desires because of the intensity of the experience and needs me to protect her from her own weakness. She’ll thank me later for denying her transfer and allowing her to experience her homebirth/gain her homebirth bragging rights”.

    • Cody

      This is a woman who subscribed to the HypnoBirthing philosophy. She uses the term “rushes” in place of the word “contractions”. According to this prenatal prep course and book, contractions only hurt because you think they’re supposed to.

      • LaMont

        I thought labor hurts b/c Eve ate that stupid apple 😉

        • Charybdis

          It’s because she tempted Adam into sharing the apple with her…;P

    • Mel

      My rule of thumb involving pain is trained medical intervention is badly overdue when someone is screaming uncontrollably from pain.

  • Amazed

    OT again: Has anyone heard from Erin? It’s been a long time since she last posted and she was quite concerned if she’d get the care she needed.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      me too

    • Dr Kitty

      I’m hoping all is well, but that this forum is too triggering.
      I really, really hope that.

    • BeatriceC

      I’ve really gotten worried about her now.

    • Charybdis

      I’ve been concerned for a little while now. I really hope she is doing okay and that she’s just BUSY with a toddler and a newborn….*wrings hands*

    • StephanieJR

      I’d be okay if she just left a little dot. Just a little period, just to let us know.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa
  • Amazed

    OT: Joy in my house. I can actually see how better my bite looks now… and my headaches have decreased considerably since the Damon braces started working their magic, not to mention that the room for the two implanted teeth I need is actually there at one side. Wow for science and greedy orthodontists!

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      You’re not paying for the procedure; you’re paying for student loans for 8 years of college ( $21-65,000 per year), rent & utilities, staff, and insurance.

      • Amazed

        Actually, I am not paying for anything. It’s a gift since I’ve been a patient there for many years. But I certainly hope her expenses art the university weren’t anywhere this amount. Like everyone else, dentists here doesn’t get anything close to American salary and our university taxes weren’t American ones, thank God! But yes, I agree with your general point.

  • mabelcruet

    A bit off topic maybe, but I followed some of the links in this article, and it seems that initially there was no coronial investigation into the baby’s death as the baby was considered to be stillborn and not liveborn. That’s still an issue today-in England the coroner can only investigate deaths, and only living individuals can die. Intrauterine life isn’t regarded as life for the purposes of law, so the coroner does not have jurisdiction over stillbirths. However, that changed recently in Northern Ireland: the ruling is now that the coroner has jurisdiction over any fetus that is capable of extra-uterine life, meaning that all babies still born after 24 weeks gestation may be subject to a coronial investigation. The only exceptions are those babies who have lethal anomalies and who cannot survive after delivery.

    As a pathologist, I am really in two minds about this. The Royal College of Pathologists has professional guidelines and standards that I am required to work to. The coronial legislation has rules and laws that I must adhere to if I’m not to act unlawfully. Unfortunately, the two do not coincide. Coronial legislation only allows me to remove those tissues which directly pertain to the cause of death. In stillbirths, the cause of death is only one of the issues I’m looking for-I also need to find anything which might impact on future pregnancies and look for informative negatives (like checking genetics to make sure the baby doesn’t have chromosomal problems). Say I do an autopsy on a baby and find a huge blood clot behind the placenta, or thickened discoloured membranes, and its fairly obvious the baby died because of placental abruption or placental infection. If I then take tissue for genetics, I acting unlawfully, because the genetic testing isn’t directly related to the cause of death. But if I don’t do it, then I’m acting against my professional standards and this could warrant referral to my professional body.

    I honestly don’t think coronial investigations are the way to go for all stillbirths-we do far better working with the parents with their consent and full understanding. But currently in Northern Ireland, the right of the parents to decide what happens to their baby is completely removed from them-if the coroner decides a coronial investigation is needed, then they can’t stop it. At the moment this just affects Northern Ireland, a relatively small jurisdiction. But if this is rolled out countrywide, the standard of examinations may not be upheld-in many adult autopsies ordered by coroners, tissue isn’t taken for microscopic examination because the coroner won’t pay for the extra tests, many of my adult autopsy colleagues have been told to make a naked eye diagnosis without doing any microscopy. There have been multiple studies done and the standard of coronial autopsies isn’t great because there isn’t enough money in the system to pay for all the tests. In stillbirths, so many other tests are mandated because we are looking for positive and negative findings, but I worry the coroners will decide not to fund this.

    The difficulty is though, that the way in which stillbirths are dealt with is so variable. Some families struggle to access an autopsy-there are very few of us around the country who do these. Some families may feel that we are part of the hospital machine that failed them-maybe they blame the midwife or the obstetrician, and think the coroner is more objective and independent. If we had a less confrontational and less adversarial system where we have open and transparent investigations into stillbirths and infant deaths, keeping families involved at all steps, then we wouldn’t need to go to the courts to get answers for them. But as soon as there is a complaint, the NHS management bureaucratic litigation nightmare machinery swings into play and just makes everything worse for everybody, and then we end up with the horrible drawn out process that people like James Titcombe have had to struggle with.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Imagine a midwife who knows the truism better safe than sorry. Apparently Barrett doesn’t agree. Ugh.

    • Amazed

      Unfortunately, she isn’t the only one. Tully’s mom actually sat in the courtroom supporting Barret in an inquest over a second twin’s death, right before she had her own twins with Barret. After Tully’s death, she was cited as saying that 1 in 100 sounded very small but someone had to be the one and when it was you, there was no going back. My guess is that she felt this other mother was the one, so chance would not strike at her. She and her husband went out of their way to say how informed they were that a death might happened. That was crazy if I ever saw crazy…

      I can’t even start to understand this degree of cognitive dissonance but I am almost sure it cannot be used against Barret as in, she exploited it. At the same time, I am sure it can’t be normal. Or perhaps I just can’t fathom that she might have known and decided it would be all peachy with Barrett. Perhaps I place too much trust in humanity. But I really think it’s beyond what’s normal, mentally.

      • attitude devant

        I’m fairly certain Tully’s mom woke up and smelled the coffee. Annie Borgeault has not yet done so.

        • Amazed

          I’m glad to hear it. Still, where did you read this? The last thing I remember of her is her trying to deny that she was adequately warned and saying that could she turn time back, she would have had a c-section. Is that what you mean?

          • attitude devant

            Just that.

      • yugaya

        Tully’s mom and all of the parents of the babies Barrett killed were victims -brainwashed by a psychopath, part of cult-like local homebirth scene. It takes years to get your sanity back after being a victims of such a predator.

        Not only that, Lisa Barrett was protected by her direct enablers like Hannah Dahlen, who further coerced loss mothers into hiding evidence like video recordings of these births during the original coroner inquest.

        Articles about her arrest state that one of the conditions of her original inquest was that her website be taken down. It is also listed now as one of the conditions of her bail. Her online cesspool of deadly birth bullshit is still up and running. http://www.homebirth.net.au/

        Another condition placed upon her was that she was not to attend any births. Information from Australia is that she was reported last year for attending births in a company of a currently registered midwife. Nothing happened to either of them. That’s because heads of midwifery in Australia are enablers of this serial killer. I hope that now that police has taken over, we will see justice for Tully, for Sam, for Ian, and for all the babies and families she has injured.

        • Amazed

          I hope we see it! I can’t understand why no governing body has taken any steps against Hanna Dahlen. Her public statements are grossly unprofessional, even if we leave aside her brainwashing of loss mums.

          The cult is very obvious here indeed. Actually, from reading Tully’s parents’ statements I was left thinking that they were all up in arms, lest someone think they made uninformed decision. Something was glaringly wrong.

          • AnotherHomebirthVictim

            Hannah Dahlen is a Professor of Midwifery! As is Dr Rachel Reed, author of the Midwife Thinking blog and Rachele Meredith, who is one of LB’s best friends, fellow conspirators and apprenticed under her is also a Lecturer at a University. These women are teaching young impressionable midwives.

        • Sue

          It’s still up today (Wed midday Aus Eastern time)

        • HomebirthVictim

          The open letter on the Maternity Consumers Network Australia page and the comments underneath are pretty good examples of how brainwashing and cult like the Homebirth and NCB groups are. A few homebirth loss Mums, including myself, have commented but they just double down, blaming women for choosing the unsafe births they are advocating as safe options!

          • yugaya

            I’m so sorry for your loss. You are among friends here, and there are many people who see through their victim-blaming excuses. If you want to join a good and safe place on facebook where you can share your words and have them taken seriously and with respect, look for the VBAC and birth after CS
            evidence-based group.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            sorry for your loss

  • Heidi_storage

    Imagine giving away the newborn diapers you’ll never use…but at least you didn’t have a cesarean.

    Imagine shopping for a tiny coffin and arranging services for a child you’ve felt inside you, but whom you never got to meet…but at least you didn’t have any pitocin.

    Imagine looking at the empty bassinet you carefully prepared, dealing with engorged breasts, telling your other children that the baby in Mommy’s tummy won’t be there after all…but at least you didn’t give birth in a hospital.

    Midwives who cause this kind of tragedy need to be held responsible.

    • mabelcruet

      I’ve posted this several times before but it needs to be remembered. Rosie Kacary, a homebirth midwife who presided over a maternal death due to exsanguination because she failed to recognise retained placenta, told the bereaved husband (Mr Teague) at the inquest into his wife’s death that he should remember Claire, his wife, had had a lovely homebirth just as she wanted.

      Sociopath? Psychopath? Deluded birth addict who fell for Gaskin/Odent propaganda?

      • LaMont

        Gotta love how the far-right anti-choicers and the pseudoscientific “feminists” can all agree that birth >>> women’s lives.

        AHCA + Imminent Roe Repeal has me feeling not-optimistic today…

        ETA: “Imminent” = I’m 85% sure it happens in my lifetime, not tomorrow or anything…

      • AA

        Search Google Books for Rosie Kacary, Ms. Kacary reports that she enjoys not being beholden to regulations

        • mabelcruet

          Given the utter shambles that the Royal College of Midwives is, I’m surprised she felt that she was encumbered by too much in the way of regulations. It took them 8 years to get round to investigating the midwives who presided over Joshua Titcombe’s death, and then the College spent a quarter of a million pounds tracking Mr Titcombe online and on social media.

          • Dr Kitty

            Utter shambles is right.
            I’m going to be a little vague, deliberately.

            I recently inquired whether the RCN had an opinion as to whether certain policies and procedures being followed by local midwives were considered acceptable practice by the RCN (as local GPs consider them to be unsafe and professionally discourteous).

            I was advised that beyond their code of practice, the RCN does not advise their members on specifics of practice and would be unable to comment.

            I *could* refer an entire department to the RCN for investigation for possible malpractice, but I couldn’t ask if a particular practice was acceptable.

            Compared to the GMC, who issue regular and very specific guidelines for doctors, complete with various scenarios, ethical quandaries and what to consider when making decisions, as well as learning points based on recent cases that have come before fitness to practice panels, the laissez faire attitude of the RCN is a complete joke.

          • mabelcruet

            And yet, they seem to make totally arbitrary decisions based on guidelines they don’t have. I know of a nurse who was reported to the RCN because she gave a patient some advice about stopping smoking. The hospital disciplined her decided that she had acted outside her area of expertise because she wasn’t a qualified anti-smoking practitioner and hadn’t been trained to provide cessation advice. My impression was that she had clashed with management and the senior staff and this was a completely spurious complaint to get rid of a difficult employee (exactly like that crouton-stealing consultant surgeon)

          • Dr Kitty

            *I* haven’t been “trained” to provide smoking cessation advice either.

            It’s not like it’s rocket science.

            Choose a date.
            Get rid of all your smoking supplies and accessories.
            Use nicotine replacement therapy or Champix as directed.
            Make sure you have healthy snacks and something to keep your hands busy with.
            If you fail, try again.

            Honestly, all I wanted the RCN to say as either “this seems fine, what is your problem?” Or “obviously this is unacceptable”.
            It wasn’t even a particularly difficult question…

          • maidmarian555

            As someone who smoked for well over 20 years and made multiple attempts to quit, I think it’s actually really important for *any* medical professional to be willing to discuss quitting methods with you as a patient. It’s relevant to your health in so many ways and if HCPs are supposed to bring up the fact that you should quit (which if you’re seeing them for anything from a severe case of bronchitis to a pregnancy they definitely should be) then it’s no good if they catch you in a receptive mood to then have to say “but I can’t actually discuss quitting with you, I’ll have to refer you to another service or professional” because if you put any barriers in between a smoker and quitting they will gleefully grab them with both hands. I know I did. But in the end it took a single conversation with a midwife who was willing to take an extra 5 minutes to have a reassuring discussion with me about it. If she’d have referred me elsewhere and not took that opportunity, I’d have probably not bothered going and lost the motivation. I am really grateful she did and I care not that she’s not a ‘trained smoking cessation expert’. It worked and I stopped.

  • Madtowngirl

    This woman is a sociopath. No remorse for these deaths, whatsoever.

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    BTW: according to the article in the newspaper she faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

    • That won’t happen in Australia.
      I’m generally not a fan of the “tough on crime” crowd but it’s entirely justified in this case.

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    In the photo of her leaving jail after bond was posted she has her head covered and it appears she is attempting to cover her face. If she is so proud of what she did then why the need to hide?

  • amnoon

    Thank you Australia.

  • Lemongrass

    FINALLY. Why only two counts of manslaughter though? What is the minimum sentence if found guilty – does anyone know?

    • mummato2

      2 counts of manslaughter because of the 5 deaths, only 2 babies could be proven to be breathing. In Australia, foetuses aren’t regarded as individual people so murder/manslaughter can’t be charged if the baby never took a breath.

      Minimum sentence is a loaded question. Aus legislation gives maximum guidelines but the punishment is contingent on factors such as criminal history etc. A Judge could consider a suspended sentence, bond or other. The average manslaughter sentence in QLD is 4 years. Maximum penalty per count proven is 25 years (which I would be shocked if she were given this)

      I just hope this shakes the industry!

      • DaisyGrrl

        I’d be really interested to learn what mainstream Aus midwives think of all this. Barrett has gone so far beyond accepted practice that I really think charges are appropriate, but I can also see the NCB crowd crying persecution and doubling down on iffy practices.

        As in the UK, I think the leadership for midwives will need to send a strong message denouncing Barrett’s actions and supporting safer practices. Without that, the woo crowd will react predictably and end up controlling the narrative.

  • Amazed

    It was about time! I can’t help but wonder, though… These are all OLD deaths. Could it be that with Lisa’s newly acquired fame, some families have reconsidered entrusting their lives to her? I don’t think we’ve heard another dead baby making the news.

  • SporkParade

    In related news, there was a homebirth death in Israel today (http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4978544,00.html and sorry for the Hebrew). The death was apparently attended by a midwife, and it’s not clear what the complication that caused the death was. The article ends with an appeal by the head of the obstetrics department at the local hospital saying, “We allow and respect natural births today for women for whom it is appropriate, in special rooms under medical supervision and immediate response by pediatricians and intensive care in the event of complications. Tragic events of this sort could mostly be avoided if the women were giving birth in the hospital.”

    • I wonder who the midwife was. I know quite a few who practice in Tel Aviv. But it should be noted that ALL legal midwives in Israel are also registered nurses, and are licensed by the Ministry of Health. In the article, one of the homebirth deaths was noted to have been attended by an illegal midwife.

      The demand isn’t large, in Israel, but it can be difficult to transfer to a hospital within a reasonable amount of time, even if the midwife calls emergency services at the first sign of trouble. When it takes an hour or more to get to an outlying settlement, or during rush hour when most roads are clogged, it’s not just the baby at risk; a woman could easily die from hemorrhage before the rescue team arrives [and then there’s the trip back to the hospital!]

      • Bombshellrisa

        There is one American trained midwife in Israel who did a lot of home births and even had birth huts in her backyard. She had at least one CPM training with her (the CPM works in the US now). She refused to write about the risks of home birth, instead focuses on the risks of giving birth in the hospital (her words, not mine). Ilana Shemesh is her name

        • I know Ilana well; indeed, we worked together in a now-defunct hospital for over a decade. I know Ilana wanted to create a birthing center on the moshav where she lived, but all I can say is that, when I worked with her, she was a highly responsible CNM who adhered to hospital policy. However, perhaps she has changed; it’s been some years since I last saw her.

          I do know that, in northern Israel, there is someone practicing as a homebirth midwife who also originally came from America, has never attempted to become licensed in Israel (probably because she couldn’t meet the requirements) and makes no secret about it.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Ilana trained Oklahoma CPM Faith Elizabeth Morie, who attends HBACS and twin births at home. Also works with Venessa Giron, who trained the Duggar girls. Supposedly Ilana trained Faith to attend home births http://withfaithnothingisimpossible.blogspot.com

          • I’m sorry to read that. I have trouble believing that Ilana would accept any such patient for an OOH birth.

            The bankruptcy and closure of the Misgav Ladach hospital in Jerusalem meant that there are virtually no facilities which have “home-style birthing rooms” within a fully equipped hospital, where a woman can take a staff midwife as her private birth attendant (Maayanei Yeshua in Petach Tikvah might, but I’m not sure. In any case they don’t have an NICU, and the availability of OR facilities is limited)

      • SporkParade

        I’d be willing to put money that the midwife isn’t a legally practicing midwife, but rather an American CPM practicing by finding women who want to give birth at home despite not meeting the criteria and instructing them to register the birth as an unattended home birth.

        • There are, unfortunately, a few Israeli women who want their births to be “off the radar”, just as there were in the US during the Vietnam War, and for much the same reason. While religious exemptions are granted to full-time Haredi yeshiva students, universal conscription otherwise is still the law, and there are mothers who don’t want their children to be called up, and so want to keep them out of the national system.

        • You might be right, but there are a few legally licensed Israeli midwives [I refer to them as CNMs because of the level of education and licensure, although their program is different from US CNMs] who are not content to practice on hospital staffs but want to do homebirths. Offhand, I can think of 4 or 5. I think they are nuts, frankly. They know the risks very well, but somehow justify them to themselves somehow. When, for example, Ilana Shemesh brought her private clients into our hospital’s “homestyle” birthing room, we used to joke about how many wound up in the OR — and her patients were definitely low risk women [she would not have retained her privileges if she had tried to deliver high risk patients without MD supervision]

          Women who want homebirths are mainly ex-Americans or, very occasionally, harediot or “hippies”. The fact is that most Israeli hospitals do not do very much to accomodate the woman who wants the non-interventionist, warm, fuzzy experience — and most Israeli women don’t want that kind of experience either. I found myself explaining, over and over, that it was too early for an epidural, not the other way round. Most women, especially those who are expecting to have large families, want the experience to be as rapid and painless as possible.