A baby is dead and Hannah Dahlen thinks the problem is oppression of midwives

36247186 - creative on a theme of oppression, a pencil eraser and word oppression. vector illustration.

Homebirth midwives are nothing if not self-absorbed.

A baby is dead and Hannah Dahlen, a spokesperson for the Australian College of Midwives, has the unmitigated gall to use the preventable death as an opportunity to whine about the “oppression” of midwives.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Hannah Dahlen has never met a dead baby she couldn’t exploit for her own purposes.[/pullquote]

According to ABC Australia:

The baby, referred to as “NA” by the New South Wales deputy coroner, died during a breech birth at a property near Nimbin in northern NSW in February last year.

The coroner found in September the parents of NA were clearly warned by their doctor of the dangers of a home birth because the baby was lying sideways…

There was no midwife or medically qualified person present during NA’s birth, in a practice often referred to as a “free birth”.

The parents were warned that the baby could die at homebirth and in an amazing coincidence — who could have seen that coming? — the baby died at an unassisted homebirth. Why was the birth unassisted? Because no doctor or midwife would attend a homebirth of such extraordinarily high risk.

This was a completely preventable death. For Hannah Dahlen, it was just another oppportunity to whine.

“I think there’s a few things driving this,” professor of midwifery at Western Sydney University, Helen [sic] Dahlen, said.

“One of them is the increasing over-regulation and oppression of midwives in this country …”

Say what?

Let me see if I get this straight. According to the Coroner’s Report, the parents were warned by doctors and midwives that the baby was transverse, that a transverse birth was far too dangerous to attempt at home and that no doctor or midwife would attend them if they chose to risk the baby’s life in that way.

… In my view both parents knew that they had been warned in general terms against proceeding with a home birth. Their pre-existing views made them wilfully blind to the level of risk involved. In my view it is established that they knew the foetus was lying sideways shortly before the due date. However they did not appear to properly understand or accept that they were heading into a potential catastrophe.

What does that have to do with the regulation of midwives? Not a damn thing.

But Dahlen has never met a dead baby she couldn’t exploit for her own purposes.

Dahlen made this horrifying claim in 2011 in the wake a multiple preventable homebirth deaths:

When health professionals, and in particular obstetricians, talk about safety in relation to homebirth, they usually are referring to perinatal mortality. While the birth of a live baby is of course a priority, perinatal mortality is in fact a very limited view of safety.

Really? On what planet would that be?

On Planet Midwifery where dead babies are a small price to pay for increased midwifery autonomy.

Dahlen’s claims in this case are even worse. This baby’s death had no more to do with midwifery regulation than it had to do with physician regulation. And regulation of midwifery is no more oppressive than regulation of physicians. The point of regulation is that safety standards matter more than the desires of individual practitioners. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

No matter. Dahlen exploited this baby as yet another opportunity for midwifery lobbying.

Dahlen’s claims are not simply an exercises in extreme callousness, they are a symptom of the ugly self-absorption that places the feelings and interests of midwives above everything else including the lives of babies.