Friday, February 09, 2007

Pennsylvania Pushing to Oust Direct-Entry Midwives

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, "A Push to Stop Midwives."

According to the piece, "In Pennsylvania, only midwives who have nursing degrees can be licensed. The state argues that the practice of lay midwifery - usually defined as midwives trained through apprenticeship - is illegal, and many doctors say it is dangerous. However, the Pennsylvania statute does not explicitly prohibit the practice of lay midwifery." One midwife (Diane Goslin) without a nursing degree, who has practiced for more than 25 years and delivered more than 5,000 babies, came to the State's attention after an Amish baby she delivered died a day after work. The coroner reported that the death was "likely from pneumonia caused by bacteria transferred in utero." The State Board of Medicine is now accusing Goslin of practicing medicine and nurse-midwifery without a license, with each charge carrying a maximum fine of $10,000. If the court orders that Goslin must stop catching babies and she refuses, she could be subject to criminal charges.

Some are concerned about the Amish population in Pennsylvania, which oftens depends on "lay" midwives for birth. From the article - "Home-birth advocates say safe home births would be nearly impossible without lay midwives, who attended nearly half the 3,481 out-of-hospital births in Pennsylvania in 2004, the last year for which the state has statistics."

Direct-Entry Midwifery State-by-State Legal Status-Last Updated 4-17-2006

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