Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Midwife Buries Placenta, Loses Job

Can you believe I have a goggle news alert set up for "placenta?". Occasionally it even turns up articles not relating to Tom Cruise.

From the New York Law Journal, Baldwin Midwife Wages Legal Battle to Upend Suspension of Privileges:
A Baldwin midwife is waging a legal battle for restoration of her privileges at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow that were suspended after she removed a placenta from the hospital to bury it in her garden.

Jeanette Breen, 60, who has been delivering babies at the medical center since the early 1990s, was suspended on Nov. 9, 2005, shortly after she left the hospital with the placenta.

The patient gave Ms. Breen, who is a registered nurse and a licensed midwife, permission to take the placenta. However, Ms. Breen did not seek prior authorization from the medical center, which claims that she violated the hospital's policy and state law for the disposal of regulated medical wastes.

Many patients of midwives view placentas as natural products of conception that should be given a proper burial instead of being discarded as medical waste.
The article then goes on to state New York law on the issue:
The hospital contends that Ms. Breen's removal of the placenta violated the state Public Health Law, which prohibits the improper disposal of medical waste. According to Section 1389-aa, that includes any "tissue, organs and body parts," except teeth and contiguous bone and gums, removed during surgery or other medical procedures.

Ms. Breen's lawyer notes that the law does not specifically mention placentas. Moreover, he argues that her actions fall under an exception that allows patients to retain body parts removed during surgery if they have a religious reason for doing so. Mr. Reiser said that his client had a "cultural" justification for removing the placenta from the hospital.
The article notes that the hospital had an unofficial policy of allowing patients to take home their placentas when they make a personal request.

Previous Placenta Posts:
Placentas in the News
Placenta Found At Wellesley College
Update: Placenta Found At Wellesley College

1 comment:

Shallay said...

She was my midwife in 2005 and since I had a homebirth the only one she had to ask permission from was me. I was in an apartment at the time and felt better about it being disposed of somewhere nice. What's silly is that they cant just say hey we need prior authorization next time. I think that there were more reasons ($$) why they revoked her hospital privileges.