Does your midwife have blood on her hands?

Many home birth midwives have the nerve to crowd source their patient care decisions online, and in one known case a child died as a result. Gavin Michael died after Jan Tritten, editor of the trade magazine Midwifery Today (and a former midwife herself), helped another midwife (Christy Collins CPM) crowdsource a post dates baby with zero amniotic fluid.

The thread was captured online and saved to a word document, but its contents are not found by search engines. I thought I would do the world a favor and put the name and location of each person complacent in this death up on this blog, where prospective clients can find it and perhaps question these women about their role in Gavin Michael’s death. This is also an opportunity for anyone listed to take responsibility for their role.  If you want to search this post press control and the F key at the same time and type your midwife’s name. I’m doing my best to only post information I can trace directly back to the facebook thread but I’m only human, so if you notice a mistake feel free to leave a comment and I will investigate/issue retractions as needed. I am posting their pictures in case any of them decide to change their name or go by a different name- its common in the home birth industry to do so in order to evade responsibility.

First up is the midwife that sent the question, Christy Collins CPM (who was prosecuted in California and then moved to Nevada in order to avoid regulation)

.christy collins cpm

I would list Jan Tritten but she is no longer practicing (thank god).

The first comment on facebook encouraging Christy to forgo medical intervention is from Wanda Smith, LDEM CPM from Virginia. Here is her comment and photo:

wanda smith virginia cpm“absolutely no experience with “0″ fluid, but have had two go quite over with very low fluid (under 5), one was 18 days over, quite uneventful home birth, and one was 19 days over with heavy mec and true knot, that did give a us a little trouble, but she stilled birthed vaginally”

From what I can tell this is all illegal for licensed midwives in the state of Virginia. You can find her info at Gentle Birth Roanoke. WANDA SMITH, you have blood on your hands. You played with your patient’s life and instead of counting yourself lucky for having live babies and mothers you encouraged another midwife to play your game. Shame on you for bragging about risking patients lives and well being.

Next is Sharon Schlicher, Oklahoma “tradional” Midwife. She routinely posts from a facebook account for Thomas McGregor but signs all her posts and all of them appear to be the same person. Here is her advice for the family of the (now deceased) baby in clear medical danger:

I caught a baby with zero amniotic fluid years ago before routine ultrasounds. She did have membranes that HAD to be broken, they were incredibly tough, that’s how I know she had zero water. Birth was uneventful but baby had a major birth defect and was referred to children’s hospital for eval and surgery. Sharon Schlicher, Oklahoma Midwife

Sharon Schlicher oklahoma

She works at Spirit Within Homebirth Services. They do not have website however so she may not be working under that company name for long.

Christy Fiscer, lay midwife, of Ivins Utah had this to say:

Fluid level readings can, and often are highly inaccurate at this point… yet often used now as indication for intervention. Can you FEEL fluid during palpation, or does baby have a “plastic wrapped” feel?

Just had a friend diagnosed with ZERO fluid, yet somehow had plenty when SROM took place less than 2 days later.

cristy fiscer utah

When I was looking for her picture I found a post of hers asking other midwives advice on attending high risk out of hospital births. She learned nothing from participating in this preventable tragedy. She works at Birthkeeper midwifery in utah. Shame on you for not recommending immediate transport and monitoring of a baby experiencing medically emergent issues.

Del Balgas, California based Lm Cpm proves that the certification process for non-nurse midwives is useless. Look at her comment about the emergency:

 I had this happen not low fluid no fluid . Where did it go?

del balgas cpm california

Why should she be allowed to deliver babies if she doesn’t know where amniotic fluid “goes”? I am glad she was honest enough to admit that she didn’t know any answers, but I wish she were honest enough with herself about her qualifications to stop delivering babies.

She is able to practice in California and Arizona.

Alison Reid, a midwife from Australia, said this:

There is evidence to say that AFIs are often inaccurate. Is the baby moving well? Can the outline of the baby be seen clearly (which can mean little liquor)? Could the mother be leaking fluid and unaware (it happens). If baby is happy, get her to take precautions against infection and wait. I would listen to the mother.

Listening to the mother wouldn’t work because the mother was relying on her midwife, who was relying on facebook of all places for advice. Alison works at Brisbane Midwife in Australia.

alison reid

A doula named Erika Laquer had a lot of suggestions (none of which included getting real medical attention):

Try a very good acupuncturist and midwife-friendly massage therapist and refer in a day or 2.

The baby didn’t make it that long. Doulas are not medically trained at all.

erika laquer midwife MA

Erika provides doula services in western Massachusetts under the company name Better Beginnings for Birth.

Zuki Abbot-Zamora is a birth guru who works out of Boulder, Colorado. Her advice?

I would respect leaving things alone, and just because you cannot ‘see’ fluid does not mean there is none. I have seen babies come with as little as a tsp of fluids and be just fine.

Zuki sells a book and seems to let people give birth on her property by word of mouth but doesn’t advertise her services in a conventional sense.

zuki abbott-zamora guru colorado

Celesta Rinnisi, a midwife from San Diego, simply said “cell salts”. I don’t know what those are but I know its not a hospital, and that is what the baby and mother desperately needed.

celesta rinnisi midwife california

Celesta owns A Celebration of Birth and Life, a birth center. 

Mary Bernabe is a CPM that delivers babies in the pacific north west. Here is her advice:

Leave her be. I’ve had 3 bbs like that and all were just fine. Didn’t know till the birth though. All 3 were out of water births so I know for sure there was no fluid. Bbs did great and so did moms. Placentas were normal and healthy looking. She’ll go into labor when it’s time.

this is unfortunately the best picture I could find of her:

mary bernabe oregon

she seems to only serve extremely religious christian clients and has no website.

Kathy L Mcrae was (is?) a doula in Michigan. Her advice?

Has she tried stevia to possibly increase the fluid?

kathy mcrae doula

Jennifer Holshoe, Grand Rapids ICAN chapter leader and childbirth educator suggested homeopathy:

try a 1m dose of Natrum Muriaticum homeopathic to balance fluid levels. I have seen it work with one dose

She uses tumblr to get clients in Michigan.

Sherri Holley is a midwife and a natural childbirth activist out of Dallas, Oregon. Like an above poster she lacked basic knowledge about the physiology of pregnancy, and suggested to use homeopathy (‘nat. mur’ is shorthand for a supplement):

there has to be some water or her baby would get baby out. If there was no water, the cord would have been compromised and would have gone into fetal distress. I agree with the Nat. Mur.

These women had the opportunity to urge for emergent intervention but lacked the knowledge (or perhaps caring) to do so. Would your midwife have done the same thing, if this had been your baby? You wouldn’t know until after it had happened, and crowdsourcing is the norm for midwives, not the exception.


9 thoughts on “Does your midwife have blood on her hands?”

  1. Awesome post, and important information. But I think you mean “each person COMPLICIT in this death”- although they are all also terrifyingly complacent as well.

  2. It’s horrible what happened to Gavin, both by the hands of Christy Collins and then by all these quacks that chimed in. Did really no one say, “Go to the hospital immediately” ??! Awful! Awful! All of them! Off with their heads!

    1. a few people said “I would go to the hospital” or “I would be worried about X” but none of them gave the situation the urgency it required. I know why, I’ve covered what home birth “peer review” looks like, and its pathetic. The biggest taboo in the midwifery community is to hold other people personally accountable. They all know that if any standards are introduced and strictly expected for midwives that they won’t have the numbers required to keep the profession legal at all. They care more about that than the lives of these children and it infuriates me.

  3. Thank you for posting this. Name and shame is the only way to get rid of this dangerous faux-credential. I hope you can do more of these posts, perhaps ones that were present at a homebirth loss.

  4. I am a certified nurse-midwife, advanced practice nurse in Illinois. I first learned about Gavin’s death and the nightmarish practice of consultation by crowdsourcing through a CNM colleague. I assure everyone that this is *not* the norm among CNMs who are credentialed by hospitals or medical groups. When you are accountable to your peers (and yes, our peers include physicians, as well they should), you keep your knowledge base solid in the sciences and you consult appropriately.

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