Expectant mothers at center of midwifery dispute

June 1, 2012 3:26:19 PM PDT
Women wanting to give birth at home may now have trouble finding a midwife to assist with the process. Several midwives told ABC11 that their supervising physician dropped them without reason.

Twenty-six-year-old Elyse Ruiter is 41 weeks pregnant. Her baby could come at any moment and she said she's been planning for that moment to be at home with her husband and her certified nurse midwife, Donna Galati, by her side. However, her plans are up in the air.

"Legally, she cannot birth my baby anymore," said Ruiter. "I don't know who is supposed to catch my baby. I cannot have my baby at home, but no hospitals have any records of me."

Certified nurse midwives, who are also known as CNMs, practice under a physician who signs their license. Galati said she got a call from her supervising doctor two days ago, telling her he could no longer back her or the six other midwives he's responsible for.

"I was sick to my stomach and tried to scramble in my head thinking what the next move was going to be and what we were going to do," said Galati.

Galati said in the years Monarch Midwifery has been in practice, she's delivered more than 100 babies in their homes and that she's never lost a newborn. Still, none of the 15 doctors she's reached out to has been willing to sign her license.

Galati said she doesn't know why her supervising physician dropped her. ABC11 called him, but never heard back.  We also reached out to the State Medical Board and were told the High Point doctor still has an unrestricted license and is free to supervise whoever he chooses.

A spokesperson told ABC11 that the board has not given any "direction that physicians should not be supervising certified nurse midwives, either to a specific physician or to physicians as a group."

That news, however, is little consolation to Ruiter and Rachel Brunton. They are two military wives who feel their right to deliver their first borns at home are now gone.

"Overnight, literally, those rights have been taken and I can't do that anymore," said Ruiter.

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