Time has about run out on Senator John Loudon’s latest effort to give lay midwives professional standing in the eyes of the state. His last chance likely will come early next week. But late-rising concerns about who is financially liable if a home-birth goes badly wrong are the latest obstacle in his effort to gain state recognition for those midwives
A potentially killing issue is lack of liability insurance for midwives. St. Joseph Senator Charlie Shields, who works in hospital administration at home, wants to keep hospital people from being sued because they try to save a baby and a mother when there are big problems with a home birth. "If nurse midwives could buy insurance, I would have no trouble with this," he says.
Shields suggests changing Loudon’s bill to say anyone at a hospital who has to deal with the aftermath of a problematic home birth cannot be sued for anything they do in the first 48 hours after the mother and child arrive for emergency treatment. Loudon says that’s bad public policy. Shields says he won’t let the bill advance if his people don’t have that protection.
Shields has that power. As Senate floor leader, he decides what bills can be debated.