Midwives College of Utah teaches students to hide illegal activities

06/22/2016 09:20

by Safer Midwifery in Utah


I’ve already discussed how the Utah Midwives Association’s peer review standards encourage lies of omission about illegal activity from other midwives, and today I found an online presentation from the same person (Sarah Carter, CPM and clinical dean at MCU) about clinical rounds guidelines for student midwives. They are mostly the same, with guidelines about how you should not hurt any other midwife or student midwife’s feelings during the course of the ’rounds’. The fact that they are teaching this in a school whose dean is on the MEAC board as a vice president (Kristi Ridd Young) makes me extremely concerned. The MEAC is the board in charge of accrediting direct entry midwifery schools, and therefore members of the board who own midwifery schools should hold them to the highest of standards. The culture of protecting those who harm patients is being passed on to students at Midwifery College of Utah instead.


Anyway, there are some rather specific examples given in the presentation about what not to do vs what to do. Here is an example of what not to do:

The presentation pretends that midwives are subject to HIPPAA, even though direct entry midwives are not and non-nurse midwives cannot seem to stop crowd sourcing their patient’s problems in public on face book. How would Midwives College of Utah prefer the case studies to be presented?

Erasing the private information of the patient makes sense, but to pretend that the illegal status of a home birth midwife’s practices are unremarkable seems absolutely absurd to me. If educational institutions like the midwive’s college of utah were to actually track if unlicensed midwives or midwives who acted illegally had a difference in outcome then policy could be written in light of those facts. Of course home birth midwives care much more about their ‘autonomy to practice’ than the lives of mothers and babies, so it makes sense that they would encourage student midwives to treat illegal activity as a non-issue


Here is the same line about not critically questioning the actions of the midwife during the case study (if you do, you will be asked to leave):

“Remember, midwives all over the world have varying experience, backgrounds, practice environments and styles will be participating.”


What is a simple word for “experience, backgrounds” and “styles”? The word Sarah Carter is looking for here is “competence”Non-nurse midwives have varying levels of competence. It isn’t like they have mandatory practice standards so they can decide what to do on their own. YOU wouldn’t want to be judged if you decided to do something idiotic like sprinkle pepper on a baby who isn’t breathing, would you? Of course not! SO don’t judge or be critical of another midwife who did something as stupid as you’ve done in the past. They are all just figuring out their own practice guidelines this way, a deplorable strategy when plenty of actual research is available on what is safe and what is not. Of course if home birth midwives were competent at understanding research (or sometimes, basic math) they wouldn’t recommend home birth in the first place.


This is the essence of home birth midwifery- practice however you want, and respect other midwive’s decision to practice however they want. Hold informal case studies and let everyone decide their practice standards based off them instead of actual research about best practices. 


The way that I found the presentation was to look at Midwives College of Utah’s student blog, which noted that one of the case studies is a still birth. I would be confident betting that it was from an overdue pregnancy, that is all the rage these days despite the obvious danger involved in post-dates pregnancy.

When I was still drinking the Natural Childbirth Kool-aid I went post-dates. I am so grateful that my baby survived and I didn’t become a case exploited for self-serving ‘cinical rounds’ by pretend medical professionals. It could have easily been me, or anyone going significantly over their due date.


Still another case study is on pre-term labor, something direct entry midwives should not manage.


Midwives in Utah want it both ways- they want to be as respected as physicians or nurses, but they don’t want any of the accountability that comes from mandatory licenses and insurance. These guidelines from the MEAC approved midwifery school in Utah demonstrate that women like Vickie Sorensen and Valerie El Halta are not rarities or aberrations, they are the norm and students are taught to protect each other instead of developing accountability and guidelines to protect moms and babies in the future. Please visit my action guide if you want more information about how to alert your representatives of this dire situation. Please help before I have to report on another preventable infant death. Without legislation it is just a matter of time.





[Note:  Might sound a bit harsh ... until you read the hyperlinks.  Also, see “About” Safer Midwifery in Utah at the end.  Does make one wonder what could go on in these “one-room birthing centers”, with no informed consent, no inspections, no accountability, no licensing, etc.  The article first appeared here.-- DNI]