Parents, grandparents, children and birth rights activists picketed the College of Midwives offices on Nov. 28, 2012. The College of Midwives conducts secret investigations and flagging operations to undermine the alternative birth workers in the province. By sending negative press releases and spreading half-truths and innuendo, they attempt to claim a monopoly on who shall attend births in the province.
From the film “Freedom for Birth”: — “One of the home birth mothers supported by Ms Gereb (Agnes Gereb, Hungarian midwife) decided to take a stand.
When pregnant with her second child, Anna Ternovsky took her country (Hungary) to the European Court of Human Rights and won a landmark case that has major implications for childbirth around the world.
Toni Harman, one of the filmmakers says, “the “Ternovsky vs Hungary” ruling at the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 means that,. . . now in Europe, every birthing woman has the legal right to decide where and how she gives birth. . .
. . .And across the world. . ., it means that if a woman feels like her Human Rights are being violated because her birth choices are not being fully supported, she could use the power of the law to protect those rights. With the release of “Freedom For Birth”, we hope millions of women become aware of their legal rights and so our film has the potential to spark a revolution in maternity care across the world. In fact, we are calling this the Mothers’ Revolution.”
Added on June 17 2013: EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS Fact Sheet
Under Article 37 § 1(c)of the Convention
Ternovsky v. Hungary
The applicant complained about being denied the opportunity to give birth at home, arguing that midwives or other health professionals were effectively dissuaded by law from assisting her, because they risked being prosecuted.
(There had recently been at least one such prosecution.)
The Court found that the applicant was in effect not free to choose to give birth at home because of the permanent threat of prosecution faced by health professionals and the absence of specific and comprehensive legislation on the subject, in violation of Article 8
Right to respect for private and family life.
ADDED June 2017: A case involving a member of the College of Midwives of B.C.
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016 8:22PM EDT
Last updated Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016 8:24PM EDT
The mother of a boy who was born with severely debilitating brain injuries on Vancouver Island has settled a lawsuit against her midwife and local health authority for more than $3-million, as well as annual payments that could add millions of dollars to the cost of the case.
The annual $400,000 payments outlined in the settlement are rare, but a legal expert says if they become more common they could add an unpredictable liability to the B.C. government’s finances.
Cabe Crossman was born in December, 2011, at the Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan, located about 60 kilometres northwest of Victoria. Due to injuries suffered during the delivery, he now has severe cerebral palsy and intellectual impairment, and will require extensive care for the rest of his life.
His mother, Sarah Corrin, sued her midwife, Selina Boily, the Vancouver Island Health Authority and two unidentified nurses alleging the care she received, first from the midwife and then at the hospital, was negligent. She alleged that her labour and delivery was not properly monitored, assessed or responded to. The defendants admitted liability and a B.C. Supreme Court judge approved a settlement earlier this month.
The boy’s life expectancy could be anywhere from 12 to 30 years, according to the court ruling, meaning the final cost to the provincial government could be well over $10-million. In addition to ultimately being responsible for the health authority, the province also sponsors the Midwives Protection Program, an insurance plan unique to B.C. across the country.
The program provides midwives with legal expenses and covers claims against them alleging negligence while practising, if they pay an annual fee of $1,800 per year.
A separate liability insurance program for midwives is also used in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. It was not immediately clear about the situation in other provinces.
The Midwives Association of B.C. says the cost of malpractice insurance was halved in 2007 by the Ministry of Health “due to the excellent record that midwives currently hold in relation to large claims,” and reduced again in 2014.
As of this year, midwives in B.C. are required to also hold commercial general liability insurance, which they can get through the insurance provider of their choice
Paul McGivern, a lawyer with Pacific Medical Law who specializes in medical malpractice and infant injury cases, said that over the past decade he has seen a trend in which settlements for obstetric cases in British Columbia have been going up – not in quantity, but in dollar value.
Mr. McGivern, who was not involved in the Corrin family’s lawsuit, has worked on many cases that have involved $3-million claims or more.
“Part of it is that the cost of care is going up. Part of it is that counsel are presenting much more sophisticated analysis of the cost of care – the evidence is getting better as to how much things cost,” he said.
However, Mr. McGivern said incremental payments in the agreement, without insurance backing, is unusual.
“It is very difficult to predict what your ongoing financial obligations are going to be,” he said.
“If you have one case or two cases, you can manage that. If you’ve got 100, 200 or 500 of those cases that build up over time, your finances can become incredibly difficult to manage and predict.”
A recurring payment in a case such as this “is not unprecedented,” said Barbara Webster-Evans, the lawyer who represented Ms. Corrin. “But it’s probably rare.”
Ms. Webster-Evans said the family requested privacy and that agreements are in place that prevent her from discussing the case in detail.
“Any of these cases when they occur are tragedies for the child as well as the family,” she said.
Added July 11, 2017
B.C. College of Midwives demands ‘death midwives’ stop using title
College says midwife title is protected by law; death midwife says her use of it completely different
By Liam Britten, CBC News Posted: Jul 05, 2016 8:51 PM PT Last Updated: Jul 05, 2016 8:51 PM PT
Death midwife Pashta MaryMoon (far right) instructs others on a live model, how to properly wash and care for a dead body at home. The College of Midwives of British Columbia says the title “midwife” is protected by law and has sent a cease and desist letter to MaryMoon’s organization ordering them to stop using it. (Canadian Integrative Network for Death Education and Alternatives)
The College of Midwives of British Columbia is demanding a group of “death midwives” stop using the term “midwife” when referring to their services.
The Canadian Integrative Network for Death Education and Alternatives is an organization that represents and provides awareness about “death midwives” — people who help a dying person and their loved ones with alternative funeral arrangements, often at home.
CINDEA’s webpage says they use the term “midwife” to “honour and parallel the role of a birth midwife,” but College of Midwives registrar and executive director Louise Aerts says the term is reserved under the Health Professions Act and CINDEA’s use is breaking the law.
“There can be a misperception from the public when a title is being used inappropriately,” she said.
“Part of the idea is to provide a sense to the public of what it means to be a registered health professional, and they know when those terms are being used, that there is a regulatory body overseeing the education and practices and standards of that profession.”
Even though death midwives have the “death” modifier before their title, Aerts says the potential is there for confusion.
“The public could conceive that they have the same level of training, the same level of oversight of their practice as do registrants of the college,” she said.
As a result, the college sent CINDEA a cease and desist letter this week to prevent them from using the term “midwife.”
• Death midwives offer a ‘more authentic’ funeral experience
• B.C. home funeral workshops teach loved ones to care for corpses
• Midwives call for better education and funding
Doubts about confusion
Aerts says she hadn’t heard of CINDEA until the CBC profiled the work of founder Pashta MaryMoon for a radio series.
MaryMoon says the term “death midwife” has been used for over a decade by people like herself, and she isn’t sure why it has become an issue now.
“We’re not talking about being a midwife for pregnant women,” she said. “People who are dealing with the death of a person have no confusion about what kind of midwife we are. So I don’t really see why that’s an issue.”
Pashta MaryMoon, seen here practising on a live model, says using the term “death midwife” has “nothing to do with being equally credible as birth midwives.” (Canadian Integrative Network for Death Education and Alternatives)
MaryMoon questions whether the College has the legal standing to stop death midwives from using the title, but admits CINDEA has no legal representation.
She also says CINDEA’s use of the title is not about claiming the legitimacy of midwifery.
“What we’re doing is reclaiming the ancient word and the ancient practice. It has nothing to do with being equally credible as birth midwives,” she said.
“It has to do with bringing back the original practice of caring for your own dead and the people who would support the families to do that, who were the midwives.”
MaryMoon said on Tuesday she wasn’t sure what CINDEA’s next steps would be besides consulting other group members and similar practitioners in the United States.
View story online (with photos) here: