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Duly Noted

Monday, Dec 3, 2012, 3:37 pm

Legal Guide for Home Birth Midwives Recommends Lying

By Lindsay Beyerstein

Dr. Amy Tuteur has excerpted some choice passages from "From Calling to Courtroom: A Survival Guide for Midwives," a 2004 legal handbook for midwives. One of the big legal concerns for HBMs is getting busted for practicing medicine without a license. Unlike certified nurse midwives, who are highly trained professionals, homebirth midwives may have little or no formal training.

That's why the state takes a dim view of HBMs injecting drugs or, God forbid, performing any kind of surgery. Some, like Elizabeth Camp, choose to ignore the law. In the book, Camp advises that outlaw midwives to lie to their patients (and falisfy their charts) to avoid prosecution:

In the future my motto is, “No witnesses”. If I ever have to cut an episiotomy to save a baby’s life, I would ask everyone to turn their backs and turn off all video cameras. I would say to the mother, “I’m sorry, I had to TEAR you to deliver your baby quickly." I do not carry Pitocin anymore. For those midwives who do carry Pitocin, I would advise them to never admit it to anyone who has the ability to testify (that is, anyone except your husband). If a midwife ever feels the need to inject Pitocin or administer any kind of drug, such as Methergine, she should refer to such substances as “minerals.”

Camp recommends cutting a patient with scissors and telling her she tore on her own. She recommends injecting Pitocin and calling it "minerals."

"No witnesses" is a motto for a hitman, not a health care provider.

 

Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times' City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (http://www.hillmanfoundation.org/hillmanblog), a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.

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