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Midwife Charged In Breech Baby's Death

9:29 PM, Apr 19, 2011   |    comments
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FALL CHURCH, Va.  (WUSA) - A well-known Baltimore midwife has been indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges in Virginia after a baby she tried to deliver from a breech position died shortly after birth. The baby's head became stuck in the birth canal, and he suffocated.

A grand jury in Alexandria also indicted Karen Carr on charges of child abuse, neglect and acting without a license.

Carr has delivered more than 1,200 babies.  Her attorney, John Kenneth Swerling, says many of the births Carr has assisted in are complicated deliveries, such as breech positions.

She was certified to practice in Maryland but not Virginia.
Her lawyer says the 43-year-old first-time mother hired Carr after an Alexandria midwife-practice advised against a home-birth, because the baby's breech position could cause complications.

"I'm flabbergasted. This could have been prevented. This didn't need to happen," said OB-GYN Dr. Glenna Andersen. She said the mother should have come to hospital and delivered the baby by cesarean section.

"I would prefer to deliver babies vaginally...but there are times when c-sections are just right thing to do," said Andersen.

Morgan Hanzlik is a home birth advocate who knows Karen Carr and says she did nothing wrong.

"Karen did everything in her power to bring that baby into this world," said Hanzlik. Hanzlik had a c-section with her third son Austin because of several complications. She says she would've liked to have had another home birth. Her first child Zachary was delivered by c-section in a hospital. But she delivered her second child, Luke in her own bedroom.

"My experience was, it was easy, it was safe. No complications," Hanzlik said.

She had what's called a V-BAC, vaginal birth after cesarean and many doctors will not do it because of the risk of uterine rupture.

The mother in the case of midwife Karen Carr didn't want to have a c-section either. Since Carr had experience, the mother decided to use her services in a home birth, according to Carr's attorney.
Dr. Anderson says gynecologists rarely deliver breech babies because of the risks. She says c-sections are by far safer than a home birth.

"I don't believe home births meet the standard of care in gynecology."

Andersen says doctors are advised to not perform breech deliveries because of the risk and the lack of expertise in the practice.

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