Carr, who is a certified professional midwife but who state records indicate is not licensed in Virginia, is an advocate of home births and has worked with hundreds of women in the Washington region, many of whom offer high praise for her work and care. And she has held herself out as being especially adept at high-risk deliveries: When she met the boy’s mother — who was 43, in her first pregnancy and had a child in breech position — Carr told her that she had done 40 to 50 breech births in homes without problems, according to court records.
Fifty to 75 people — including numerous babies — joined Carr in Alexandria Circuit Court on Thursday, standing when she walked into the courtroom in what supporter Nicole Jolley said was a show of respect. Jolley said Carr has “amazing skill.”
After Carr was arrested, Jolley, a certified professional midwife, founded In Service to Women, a group focused on providing legal aid to midwives and uniting home-birth advocates. She said the group has raised $45,000 in less than two months, and hundreds of people joined the group on Facebook to offer testimonials about Carr’s contributions to the community.“The outpouring of support has been amazing,” Jolley said. “Her services are coveted.”
The parents sought out Carr in August after nurses at a licensed birthing center in Alexandria said they could not deliver at home because of the fetus’s position in the womb; breech births are most often delivered by Caesarean section because the risk of complications from a breech delivery — in which the baby is positioned feet-first — are high, according to medical officials.
Carr agreed to do a home delivery and, prosecutors said, declined to call for help when things got out of control. A medical examiner ruled that the death was due to complications from a breech birth at home.
Harold Fox, director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Johns Hopkins and who employs midwives, reviewed the case for prosecutors and determined that the delivery was high-risk and should have been performed in a hospital. According to court records, he said that “all of the actions of the Defendant created a gross departure from the accepted standard of care.”
Personnel at Children’s Hospital contacted the Virginia Department of Health Professions after the baby’s death, a call that initiated a criminal investigation. Alexandria prosecutors interviewed every witness in the case before proceeding with an indictment this year. Boucher said the boy’s parents are “understandably devastated,” adding that they did not seek out prosecutors but agreed to help once an investigation was underway.
Just because your friends swear by something or because you read a few articles or some stuff on the internet, doesn't mean there's not that 1-2.5% risk of your child dying - a risk that you could easily eliminate by talking to competent personnel and getting some sound advice from a variety of properly licensed, vetted and educated sources. As opposed to some snake-oil salesperson who talks a good talk and knows the immense value of network marketing - a phenomenon not unlike a snowball going downhill getting bigger and bigger after you get a certain critical mass of people who believe in you and then help you get more followers or clients.
Reminds me of these tribal knowledge guys who swore that they were right in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, and unfortunately managed to send a guy to his death with their pseudo-science: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann
And also the differences in how men and women (ok, this is a huge generalization, there are lots of exceptions, you may be one) approach different sources for learning and authoritative information:
Last week, Karen Carr was convicted of two felonies for her role in the September death of a baby boy she delivered in an Alexandria home. This week, her cellphone keeps ringing with women who want her to deliver their babies.
Carr has since been banned from delivering babies in Virginia as part of her plea agreement."Underground" midwife without license, two felonies. Barred from delivering babies in a state where she supervised the unnecessary death of a child. Phone keeps ringing.
People are stupid and take unnecessary risks.
The newborn’s death in Alexandria was followed by another death in rural Maryland in November, a case now under investigation by the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office.
The D.C. Department of Health issued a cease-and-desist order against Carr in January after the death of the baby in Alexandria and another case in the District in October, in which a baby she was delivering had to be rushed to a hospital.
The District’s cease-and-desist order states that investigators discovered that Carr had been delivering babies for “many years” without a license and that she “has caused or may cause immediate and irreparable harm to the public.” The U.S. attorney’s office in the District is investigating Carr’s midwife practice, according to law enforcement sources.
“The lack of integrity and veracity demonstrated by the defendant’s taking advantage of a plea arrangement to her benefit, standing before the court under oath and affirming that she was pleading guilty because she was in fact guilty, and then turning right around and claiming that she did nothing wrong, is extremely disturbing,” Boucher said. “It evidences the same arrogance that got her into trouble in the first place, and it does not bode well for her future clients.”
The newborn death rate is two to three times higher for planned home births than for those that take place in hospitals, said George Macones, chairman of the committee on obstetrical practice at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has long opposed home births. Some home-birth advocates say such studies are flawed.Absolutely. Let's make more and better studies so we have better material on which to make decisions. Women absolutely should have the option of a home-birth. Excuse me - FAMILIES or single mothers should have the option of a home birth. Everyone has an axe to grind. Everyone wants you to change your life to dance to your tune. I'm biased. So are you. But let's agree that taking unnecesssary risks involving other people's lives is, well, unnecessary.
“There’s no question that if you come to a hospital, there’s a one in three chance you end up with a C-section, and it’s certainly true that some of them aren’t medically indicated,” Macones said. But at home, where there is less monitoring of the baby, there is more chance of a bad outcome, he said. “Obstetrics can be a risky business. Things can go wrong.”
Like many non-nurse-midwives, she worked underground.
Kirsty Welch was not at all satisfied with the service she received from Carr. She hired Carr to deliver her son in March 2008 and thinks Carr made a series of bad decisions that ultimately led her to be rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment.
Welch said Carr showed up at her home near Old Town Alexandria late in the delivery process. Carr was on her cellphone for much of the delivery, she said, speaking to another client who was also going through labor.Showing up late? Not unusual - babies don't always come on time. Part of a home birth, unless you want the midwife to stay at your house for a week or two. Acceptable risk? I don't know, but I'll give the midwife/home birthers the benefit of the doubt on that.
“Her attention was elsewhere,” said Welch, now 32.
After a healthy boy was born, Welch began to hemorrhage. She said Carr administered drugs to her before quickly leaving for the other delivery. An assistant stayed behind, and Carr stayed in touch with her by cellphone.
“Even with Karen on the phone, they never told me how serious the situation was,” Welch said. “She left me there, and if someone hadn’t stepped in, I could have died.”
Ultimately, Welch’s doula, or maternity aide, became concerned and called paramedics. Welch said Carr and another assistant implored her not to tell authorities that they had administered pitocin and another drug to her. Virginia law prohibits non-nurse midwives from administering drugs.Smart girl to make the call. Telling your clients to lie to the authorities to protect you? Telling people that if paramedics of all people find out the truth, then you'll be in trouble? How about a little of that shiny TRANSPARENCY? Where's Wikileaks when you need them?
“The idea of her continuing to practice absolutely bothers me,” Welch said. “We felt really comfortable with her, and it was a false sense of security. I don’t want her to put anyone else in danger.”
“The drugs probably did save her life,” Carr said. “I’m glad I used them. But I also — it always puts me in a precarious position, especially in Virginia, when I use them. That I’m not really allowed to do that.”Translation: What I did was illegal and I didn't want to get caught so I told people to lie about it.
Two women who supported the mother during the September delivery said in interviews that both Carr and the mother knew the risks involved in such a delivery. They both said everything was going well, until it wasn’t.Because we're stupid and we believe and trust our friends over competent research and medical authority. We think because things go well a few times that means what we're doing is fine and we can keep doing it. It's a false sense of security based on small sample statistics. It's anecdotal evidence. It's arrogance.
“Everybody was on board with everything,” one of the women said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because it is a legal case; neither was charged. “No one is going to put their child at risk on purpose, nor is any midwife,” the woman said. The mom and midwife thought everything was safe. That’s all that matters. And they were both wrong. . . . It was devastating.”Stupid people rarely recognize when they're being stupid. Learn to be humble. Do some research to see if there are any risks associated with this big medical thing you've got coming up in six or nine months.
Or you can trust some random snake-oil saleswoman tribal witchdoctor with candles and soothing music who talks a good talk that was recommended by your best friend who tried to talk you into doing it so she'll feel better about the risks she took herself.
Good luck. If you're stupid and willing to take unnecessary risks with high-risk home delivery of a breech birth or something similar, just because you'll do anything to avoid the scar of a C-section - including accidentally kill your unborn child - then you're gonna need that luck.