Canadian midwifery can’t stop pregnant women from dying, a Canadian court ruled Monday, finding that the midwife’s refusal to remove a newborn from her bed caused her death.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for a midwife to act in a manner that could result in an unplanned death,” Justice Mark Glynn said.
The case has become a flashpoint in Canada, with the Canadian midwife and obstetrician-gynecologist Association of Midwives of Canada criticizing the ruling.
The court found that the woman, whose name has not been released, died in March 2014, shortly after she gave birth to her second child.
Her midwife told her the baby’s heart rate was high and she needed to give birth to another child.
The woman did not give birth until a month after she had given birth.
The Midwives Association of Canada filed a notice of appeal in the Federal Court of Appeal.
It asked the court to reconsider the ruling and said that while midwives have a duty to act with compassion toward the mother, the court did not agree that the Midwives Act requires them to act that way.
In its ruling, the federal court noted that the Crown’s expert witness was a midwipper who was unable to testify.
The Crown asked the judge to impose a penalty of $5,000 for the Midwife Act.