Midwives are becoming a popular alternative to an OB/GYN for many pregnant women. Some women believe that midwives bring a more personal approach to the pregnancy and birth process and prefer the relaxing atmosphere of a birth center rather than a hospital. However, just like physicians, midwives can make mistakes, and they should be held responsible for any injuries that result from their negligence.

What is a Midwife?

Midwives do not have a medical degree but must be graduates of a registered midwifery educational program to obtain a New York license. Some midwives are also nurses, but being a nurse is not a requirement to be a licensed midwife. Midwifery is defined by the State Education Department as the management of normal pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care, as well as primary preventive reproductive healthcare. Midwives can prescribe medications and order diagnostic tests. Licensed midwives are not supervised by physicians; they are independent practitioners. Licensed midwives are required to have a collaborative relationship with a physician who can help address emergency plans and risks. Midwives in New York are not required to have malpractice insurance, although many health insurance companies require midwives who are covered in-network to have professional liability insurance.

What Duties does a Midwife Have?

While midwives are trained to recognize high-risk situations, they are not necessarily capable of handling every emergency that arises. Midwives cannot perform C-sections, which is why they are required to have a collaborative relationship with a physician specializing in obstetrics. With midwives, just as with physicians, there is the very real potential for malpractice that can lead to life-altering birth injuries to a child. Midwives are trained to recognize when a pregnancy is high-risk and has the potential for serious complications. When they fail to do so, they put the child’s and the mother’s lives at risk. Midwives have a duty to direct a mother toward emergency care if necessary and to move a mother to a hospital if a C-section is required. It is essential for midwives to identify a potential birth problem and take the appropriate steps right away. If assistive devices are required during a delivery, a midwife should know how to use these tools safely. In addition, a midwife should take care when prescribing and administering medication.
Midwives who fail to do their jobs properly can cause serious medical concerns for both the mother and the child. When a midwife fails to diagnose or treat a pregnant woman accurately or acts negligently during the birth process, a victim may be able to pursue a malpractice claim.

Contact an Experienced Malpractice Attorney

If you, or your child, have been injured due to the negligence of a physician or a midwife, you should have an experienced malpractice attorney look at your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have been helping New Yorkers injured by malpractice for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MED-LAW1 to schedule a free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla Español.