Supporters of a Midwife Clinic in South Carolina Protest State Regulations That Could Close It
There have been recent protests in Charleston, South Carolina having to do with a natural birth center and new state health department laws governing midwives. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control states that, in order to protect the yet unborn babies and their mothers, there should be an “on call” physician available to provide medical assistance at all times in case a problem arises. The Director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control states that the agency just seeks documentation showing that midwife clinics comply with the law.
However, many of those who support the Charleston Birth Place disagree strongly with the law. They argue that mothers and midwives can make the choice as to whether to go to a hospital. The Charleston Birth Place is less than five minutes away from the nearest hospital, Trident Hospital of North Charleston. Recently, 200 supporters of the birth center attended a rally at the College of Charleston, holding signs and speaking out on the grounds of the College of Charleston. If the Charleston Birth Place does not provide evidence of contracts with on-call doctors, it could lose its operating license. For many supporters, the concern is that the requirements will force more women to give birth at home, which could lead to greater health risks.
The difficulty with signing on an on-call doctor for the birth center is that finding a doctor in the upstate area can be difficult. Prior to the recent insistence on contract proof, the Department of Health and Environmental Control permitted birth centers to simply have a phone conversation with possible physicians. Counsel for the Charleston Birth Place vowed that if the Department did not provide more clarification, they would seek an injunction against enforcement of the law.
Midwifery and proper oversight remains a thorny topic throughout the country, including Maryland. On the one hand, pregnant mothers want the option of having their children in a more natural environment, rather than the often intimidating atmosphere of a hospital. On the other, midwives who use improper birthing methods, or wait too long to go to the hospital after the first signs of fetal distress, risk harming the fetus’s physical and mental health long-term, or even death. When that happens, a family may file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the midwife and any attending hospital or physician. They could argue that the midwife had a duty of reasonable care in accordance to her profession, that she breached that duty, that the breach caused the injury, and that the injury resulted in damage. If you live in Maryland or Washington D.C. and your child suffered an injury due to birthing mistakes by a midwife or other medical professional, call a Baltimore birth injury attorney today.
Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman has more than 100 years of collective experience dealing with medical malpractice and birth injury cases. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, the firm represents residents in Maryland and Washington, D.C. If you have a birth injury or other medical malpractice issue, contact us today for a free consultation.