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What happens when a healthcare provider knows so little about their chosen field they feel compelled to ask for medical advice on the internet? In the case of one homebirth midwife, the baby died. Would you hire a midwife like her?

Blood in your stool? Leg pain? A weird skin rash? We've all been guilty of using “Dr Google” as our healthcare provider. Yet when something appears to be really wrong, most of us are sane enough to follow that Googling up with a visit to an actual medical professional.

We know that nothing — not even the internet — can replace the education, experience and expertise of medical professionals. Except, that is, if your healthcare provider isn’t really a medical professional.

Would you hire someone who knows so little about their chosen field that they feel compelled to crowdsource a life and death medical situation on Facebook? We didn’t think so either, but then again, you might not know that some people practice medicine with a credential that would not  be accepted in any developed country but the United States.

We’re talking about the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential and you’ll be horrified to hear that a very public face of US midwifery did, indeed, crowdsource a life and death medical situation on Facebook. What happens when midwives have to turn to Facebook to make medical decisions? Well, in this case — the baby died.

American Homebirth Midwifery Causes Preventable Deaths

Jan Tritten, the editor of the midwifery journal Midwifery Today, apparently believed asking for medical advice online to be perfectly acceptable when she posed this question on Facebook on behalf of another homebirth midwife:

“What would you do? Primip with accurate dates to within a few days who has reassuring NST at 42.1weeks, as well as reassuring placenta and baby on BPP, but absolutely zero fluid seen. 42.2 re-do of BPP and again, mom has hydrated well, but no fluid seen. Baby’s kidneys visualized and normal, and baby’s bladder contained normal amount of urine. We’re in a state with full autonomy for midwives and no transfer of care regulations past 42 weeks. Absolutely no fluid seen…what do we truly feel are the risks compared to a woman whose water has been broken and so baby/cord has no cushion there either. Cord compression only? True possibility of placenta being done although it looks good? Can anyone share stories/opinions?”

You read that right; zero amniotic fluid seen in an overdue mother. While crowdsourcing medical advice might be shocking, you’ll be equally surprised to hear that many of the midwives who responded to this question recommended trusting the mother’s intuition and “leaving things alone”.

Less than eight hours after Tritten posted this question on Facebook, she followed it up by sharing: “Very sad news on this baby: the baby didn’t make it. Had aspirated meconium a while back they believe”.

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