Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Malpractice Insurance & Midwives

Midwifery advocates working on legislation are often met with the question/response, "but what about malpractice insurance? Families need to have some recourse in the event of problems during birth." This is often a close-the-door pseudo-question asked with an air of finality--as in, "now, that settles that. We're all finished here."

Reading the current issue of Midwifery Today finally helped me respond to that question and also to discern what I have always felt that questions of legislation and legalization of midwifery should not involve a need for, or a requirement of, malpractice insurance. It also helps explain why bringing up malpractice insurance need not be an avenue for closing discussion.

From author Judy Slome Cohain: "Mandatory malpractice insurance does not enable a person to sue for malpractice. Any midwife or citizen can be sued at present--insurance or no insurance. Mandatory malpractice insurance can only do one thing: increase the profitability of lawsuits."

When looking through this lens, it becomes clear that lawyers and insurance companies have more to gain from legislation mandating insurance policies for midwives than do birthing women and their families.

The article in Midwifery Today is called "Mandatory Malpractice Insurance: Increases CS Rate & Profitability of Litigation, Decreased Planned Homebirths."


Anonymous said...

Anyone who would like to read the whole article , email me: judyslome@hotmail.com

Midwifery Today Int Midwife Vol 84: IN PRESS
Mandatory Malpractice Insurance Increases CS Rate & Profitability of Litigation, Decreases Planned Home Births

by Judy Slome Cohain

Abstract: Making malpractice insurance mandatory by law for homebirth midwives serves two purposes: to make lawsuits more profitable and to decrease the number of homebirth midwives. Malpractice insurance has encouraged an increased number of lawsuits, which increases maternal morbidity and mortality rates by promoting the practice of "defensive medicine" on healthy women experiencing normal pregnancies. No evidence shows that mandatory malpractice insurance has any effect on improving birth outcomes or public health.

CfM Molly said...

Thanks, Judy! The article was great and I really appreciated reading it in MT.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

Why dont you post the whole article? Judy

CfM Molly said...

I will get in touch with MT about their copyright guidelines! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

So malpractice insurance is mandatory for florida midwives, but not OBGYN's???

Anonymous said...

malpractice insurance is the only way someone can get a lawyer to take a case for malpractice. my daughter died at my homebirth and no attorneys would take the case, despite the health board ruling her negligent. not carrying malpractice insurance is doing your clients a disservice.

Anonymous said...

These are real families and real babies whos lives have been taken or completely devastated. The idea that malpractice insurance is just about Lawyers and Corporate Greed is blatantly ignorant and selfish. Midwives are LITERALLY holding tiny new lives in their hands. Are you kidding me? Of course you need insurance? I can't believe anyone is actually justifying this (or that anyone else is buying it!)

Anonymous said...

Jusy says: "Making malpractice insurance mandatory by law for homebirth midwives serves two purposes: to make lawsuits more profitable...". What she completely fails to take into account (as most homebirth midwives do) is the victim, and that is the mother and/or baby.

Making malpractice insurance mandatory by law for homebirth midwives serves one purpose: To reimburse the victims for their injuries and pain and suffering. Clearly, homebirth midwives do not want to support victims/patients. They want to only support themselves.