Vickie Sorensen found guilty: a wake up call for Utah legislators

Vickie Sorensen was found guilty of Manslaughter after the jury deliberated for four hours. The spectrum has thankfully covered the trial in depth, including testimony that brought some new facts to light about the events that transpired. Some of the more shocking revelations:

Although Vickie Sorensen and her daughter Camille Wilcox were not adequately trained to deal with respiratory distress in newborns, someone at the birth WAS properly trained and willing to help: the grandmother of the deceased was a former NICU nurse. She was there and wanted to assist with CPR but the correct equipment was not usable so she could not help her grandchild. Sorensen didn’t have the correct size of equipment to use on newborns.

Thornton was in the waiting room of the birthing center when she heard a loud crash coming from the birthing suite, she recounted for the jury. When she went to investigate, Thornton found Sorensen putting drops into the mouth of the baby who was not breathing. She said she switched into nurse mode and asked Sorensen for a suction to remove excess fluids from the lungs to help the baby breathe, but the midwife handed her a device much too large for the preemie. She then asked for a bag valve mask to force oxygen into the baby’s lungs, but Thornton said Sorensen was allegedly unable to provide working equipment.

“I’ve always been able to save babies, but I couldn’t save my grandbaby,” Thornton said as she recounted feeling shocked as the paramedics took the child.”

 

The proper training is not always adequate if you lack the proper equipment, which is why hospitals and real birthing centers are heavily regulated to protect patients from missing or faulty equipment. This highlights something mind boggling about Utah laws. The birthing suites that direct entry midwives use are completely unregulated. There is no state oversight for infection control or proper equipment, which in this case could have saved this child’s life. The health department is not able to inspect or discipline direct entry midwives that run unsafe birthing suites. No one is making sure that babies are being born in safe or even simply hygienic circumstances.

Another shocker to me:

The investigation was not a standard practice in the home birth death of an infant, it happened because of a discrepancy in the death certificate. There is no standard that ensures investigation after a baby dies in a planned out of hospital birth.

“Cedar City Police Detective Mike Bleak said he didn’t begin looking into the infant’s death with the intent of launching a criminal investigation. Bleak, who also serves as an investigator for the state medical examiner, was asked to sort out a discrepancy in paperwork as the state had received a record of burial dated as Dec. 26 while the death certificate was dated as Dec. 27 — implying that an illegal burial had been conducted, Bleak explained.

With the parents still with the surviving child in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Dixie Regional Medical Center, Bleak met with Sorensen to determine what happened.”

Sorensen proceeded to act very suspiciously, which spurred on the criminal investigation. A more clever sort of liar may have been able to get away with it.

As I predicted, the testimony of the EMT who arrived on sight was damning. Her testimony states that sorensen lacked equipment, performed CPR with an incredibly outdated method, and didn’t tell EMTs that the mother was still carrying a 2nd baby (among other needed medical disclosures). 

Vickie Sorensen is one of the most experienced direct entry midwives in Utah with 30 years of experience. She came highly recommended by virtually everyone in the community. Yet when you read her testimony, it becomes clear that she had so many dangerous gaps in the needed knowledge for delivering babies safely. If you think you can protect yourself or your child by researching the “right” midwife, you are wrong. The problem is the direct entry midwife “credential” itself, its completely inadequate for delivering babies safely. Even the most highly trained direct entry midwives seem to lack so much basic education on health care practices.

The time line of this case is alarming as well.

The death happened in 2012.

The arrest was in 2014.

The trial happened in 2016.

Four years passed between the death and the trial, and in the interim Vickie Sorensen was fully supported as a practicing midwife by the Utah Midwife Organization (UMO). She raised 50,000$ for her bail from UMO/home birth community. For four years Sorensen was allowed to practice as a midwife legally, and with no sanctions from UMO. If your child is injured or killed by a negligent direct entry midwife, you may find yourself waiting years before anything can be done, because it has to reach the level of criminality to be punished. By contrast, physicians and nurse practitioners that behave negligently have to answer to licensing bodies that actually revoke licenses and discipline members, and they also have malpractice insurance to compensate those who were harmed or surviving family members. Direct entry midwives are against any measures that restrict practices or require insurance in the event of negligence.

The last thing people need to know is that vickie has never been remorseful about what happened.  She doesn’t understand what she did wrong. In fact, she denied that she apologized to the grandmother of the deceased for lacking proper equipment. You can see the shamelessness of her pride in her facebook posts about the trial as well.

Well, there it is. Our truth has finally been told. Vickie testified today, and she was brilliant, charismatic and engaging on the stand. As she gently explained to the jury the procedure for neonatal rescucitation, her knowledge and passion for mothers and babies was evident.

 

Vickie clearly believes she should still be delivering babies. There is nothing that can convince her that her beliefs about childbirth are not realistic, even witnessing death that happened directly as a result of it, or the other close calls that happened, and later losing her own grandchild, isn’t enough to inspire humility in her. It is terrifying, to be honest.

Today, the prosecution parades the last of their witnesses (as long as there aren’t any more delays!). We look forward to telling our side of the story tomorrow.

 

They are “parading” witnesses, such as the family that aches for the child that could have been safely born and alive right now, and the doctors and EMTs that knew that they were seeing a totally pointless tragedy unfold in front of them. This kind of attitude towards death and maiming seems to be the norm for lay midwives like Sorensen. If you are worried about future tragedies unfolding please contact your legislators to coordinate action on behalf of these children who cannot speak out for themselves.

Utah health department: Home birth kills babies that would otherwise have lived

The Utah Health Department released a study on home birth, and it mirrors the findings of the data released in Oregon several years ago by Judith Rooks (CNM).

According to page 10 of the document, neonatal deaths in home birth happened at a rate 2.3 x the rate of hospital births. The statistics go on to note that the home birth deaths were reviewed by a committee which states that at least half of the home birth deaths were “strongly” considered to be preventable (meaning those babies would have survived had they been born in hospital). The remainder still had evidence of being preventable, just not as strong of evidence as the other half. None of the cases were considered to be completely unpreventable. The home birth fatalities were attended by midwives, midwives who likely told their clients that home birth is as safe as hospital birth.

What is shocking is that these findings actually skew the data in favor of home birth midwives- the real numbers are likely much worse. For instance, women that transfer to the hospital too late will have their babies death counted as a hospital death instead of a home birth death. You can read more in the “limitations” section of the document.

Here is all the proof anyone should ever need, in black and white- home birth in Utah kills infants that would otherwise have lived. Please refer to my Action Guide at the top of the page if you want to change things for the better.

UPDATE: this large peer reviewed study found nearly the same results. The authors have admitted to soft balling the risk in order to spare themselves the ire of the home birth community.

Another baby dies in a Utah home birth, and the mother is a home birth midwife

Camille Sorensen Wilcox, a Utah home birth midwife, is burying one of her sons. She was pregnant with twin boys and one of them did not make it because of complications from the birth. Camille is the daughter of Vickie Sorensen, who is currently facing manslaughter charges for presiding over a DIFFERENT twin birth that also resulted in a death.

Camille was actively involved in the death at her mother’s birth center according to media reports, she made phone calls on behalf of the birth center and seems to have been there when the fatality happened, as well as this near miss with a twin that would not breathe after birth.

Why on earth would Wilcox risk her son’s life at a home birth after seeing twins die, or nearly die, at deliveries outside of the hospital? Babies that needed life saving equipment that is only available at a hospital?

Camille Wilcox, as a home birth midwife, is brainwashed into thinking that birth is “as safe as life gets”, that twin births are “a variation of normal” instead of a risk factor. A midwife has a responsibility to her patients to communicate the risk of a choice accurately, but in the case of home birth midwives they don’t even believe the risk is there, so they cannot reliably tell you about it. This is why home birth needs to be regulated. Usually when a baby dies at a home birth I see people blaming the mother, saying she was uneducated or picked the wrong midwife, but this mother is a midwife whose lineage is midwifery, whose mother delivers babies with her. This proves that no amount of “education” in home birth midwifery, or “natural child birth”, will protect children whose mothers choose to have a baby at home. Home birth midwives are a risk to the public health of newborns in Utah.

Camille was warned directly of the risks inherent in a twin pregnancy. You can see her mocking an OBGYN’s warning on facebook here:

camille wilcox obgyn

(the image reads “Ok, so I had an OB pull the “mortality rate goes up at 38 weeks” card on me this week, and I was wondering- What EXACTLY is the mortality rate for di/di twins before 38 weeks, and after? Gail Hart?) 

Gail Hart is another midwife. I am sure that the Midwifery Community assured her that she was fine to have a baby at home, because that’s what midwives do even in the face of unquestionable danger, like these midwives (including a Utah midwife) did in another case that ALSO lead to a fatality.

Now the family is asking for funds to bury their child. Like most home birth disasters an emergency transport was required but did not stave off the inevitable.

camille wilcox transportation cost

On a related note, Vickie Sorensen is still committed to delivering babies. Her trial was postponed until January, and she made this announcement (AFTER the death of her grandson in a home birth in June, mind you):

vickie sorensen still working

I have reached out to the Utah Midwive’s Organization for a statement about the appropriateness of twin births being attended at home but I’m not optimistic about getting a response. From all outward appearances this looks very bad for midwifery because babies are dying left and right in home births and no one wants to be responsible for it. This underscores just how little deaths affect practice standards. If a baby dies from a practice in a hospital and the hospital is alerted, the hospital changes the policy. Midwives just ignore when the data shows they are causing death or injury and double down on their beliefs. Statistics show that home birth will be a victim of its own popularity- the more babies born at home, the more babies will die in completely preventable ways, spurring change. If people band together and become politically active perhaps that can be avoided and home birth fatalities can be prevented by legislation. Each death is a life shattered, a baby dying in agony, siblings who will never meet their brother or sister, empty arms of parents and broken heart. Preventing even one death is a worthy cause. If you feel moved to do something about the state of home birth in Utah please use the action guide at the top of the page.

Does your midwife have blood on her hands?

Utah Midwife Cristy Fiscer has not answered for her role in the death of baby Gavin Michael. These women are quacks.

Ex Natural Childbirth Advocates

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…

View original post 1,193 more words

Any of you drive-by viewers from Facebook want to leave a comment? How did you land here? Do you agree or disagree with a post? Have I made a mistake that requires correction? Enlighten me.

If Utah midwives were honest….

Their websites would read like this.

Here at Utah Midwives we do not carry malpractice insurance. It isn’t required by law, and it eats into our profits. We aren’t worried about being sued because without malpractice insurance, very few lawyers will take on a lawsuit against us since there isn’t enough money in our bank accounts to make the lawsuit worth it. And if a lawsuit is successfully won against us, we’ll just declare bankruptcy, close our birth center, and open a birth center with a new name and continue practicing, like the that one birth center in Michigan.

utah midwives are doing external cephalic versions (ECV) at home

ECV is a procedure that is meant to flip a breech baby in utero so they can be born head first. Here is a run down of it by web md. I am going to note the bits that make it a very bad idea for home birth midwives to attempt an ECV:

Fetal monitoring
To avoid harm to the fetus, a version procedure is closely monitored.

Fetal ultrasound is first used to confirm the fetus’s position, where the placenta is, and the amount of amniotic fluid. Fetal ultrasound is often used to watch the fetal position during the version attempt.
Electronic fetal heart monitoring is used before, possibly during, and after a version attempt. An active fetus whose heart rate increases normally with movement is usually considered to be healthy. If the fetus’s heart rate becomes abnormal, the version procedure may be stopped. (…)

Version procedure

Before the version attempt, you may be given an injection of tocolytic medicine to relax the uterus and prevent uterine contractions. The most commonly used tocolytic medicine is terbutaline.

While the uterus is relaxed, your doctor will attempt to turn the fetus.

(…)

Potential risks of version, for which the fetus and mother are closely monitored, include:

  • Twisting or squeezing of the umbilical cord, reducing blood flow and oxygen to the fetus.

  • The beginning of labor, which can be caused by rupture of the amniotic sac around the fetus (premature rupture of the membranes, or PROM).

  • Placenta abruptio, rupture of the uterus, or damage to the umbilical cord. The potential exists for such complications, but they are very rare.

There is also an extensive list of reasons not to perform a version, and many of them are things home birth midwives cannot actually monitor or recognize.

Here is a screen shot of utah home birth midwife of 35 years Raeann Peck talking about how she performs ECV, as do her colleagues.

evc pic

This is dangerous and stupid. If someone wants an ECV they need to go to a doctor in a hospital.