Sunday, January 11, 2009

Top 'Lawyer Mom' Blogs

I recently discovered that in December Darling Hill (a blog which I had never heard of but plan to keep an eye on!) named The Mommy Blawg one of the Top 'Lawyer Mom' Blogs of 2008.

Check out the other blogs on the list - there are some good ones. And you can find a wealth of information at Darling Hill, which is "the blog that’s devoted to that place where life and flexible lawyering meet. A 100% lawyer-parent friendly legal niche."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

FDA raids Miami birth center; Placentas, medical records confiscated

On Christmas Eve, federal, state, and local authorities executed a search warrant on the Miami Maternity Center following a 10-month joint investigation by the Florida Department of Health, the US Food and Drug Administration, and Miami Dade Police Department’s Medical Crimes Unit. Birth center staff were allegedly dehydrating and encapsulating placentas in a process that resulted in placentas from various birth mothers becoming commingled. Midwife Shari Daniels denies the allegations, according to news reports:
"They charged in here as if I were making crack cocaine," Daniels complained. "They could have sent one person and we should have shown them everything." She suggested that the raid might have been caused by angry obstetricians, who charge several times what she does to deliver a baby. "The local docs are screaming their heads off.''
Jodi Selander, owner of Placenta Benefits, a placenta encapsulation service, writes on her blog:

I am (obviously) a huge proponent of placenta encapsulation. However, I can not in any way condone this type of activity. I created the Training & Certification program specifically to avoid these types of situations.

As an advocate for the movement toward legitimizing the use of placenta for its natural purpose, this story is absolutely outrageous. People who operate with such a total lack of regard for the gravity of the process and who apparently do not realize that the FDA is not on our side, set the movement back and make it harder for the rest of us who are being safe and working toward legitimacy.

Please, people - don’t think that you can find free instructions for drying placentas on the internet and just set up shop. This is serious. You need to comply with government standards and regulations. Get some training. Work with us. Together we can do it. But not when people like this are operating out there.

White Collar Crime News blogger Jef Henninger has a lawyer's take on the situation:
I hate to see good people get caught up in criminal cases when the entire problem could have been easily avoided if a good attorney got in there and essentially performed an audit on the entire business....I don’t know enough about the facts of this case to really figure out what the situation is here, but I see no indication that anyone was harmed. At the most, it seems like they had sloppy business practices while they performed a service that the people wanted; but the FDA does not agree with. This seems like it would be a good case for a lawyer to argue that this is a technical violation of civil law and not a criminal violation as no one was actually harmed.
And, as I have mentioned before, I would love to have an expert's opinion about the HIPAA implications of confiscation of medical records. What happens to a person's right to his or her own medical records when those records become evidence? I assume that HIPAA exempts healthcare providers from liability when complying with a legitimate court order or other legal process, but do the police, prosecutors, and court personnel have the same duty as healthcare providers do to keep protected health information confidential? What if the health of a woman and her baby are compromised because her prenatal records are unavailable? Is there liability? Is anyone but me asking these questions?

Update 1/08/2008: For more information and continuing updates, please visit The Placenta Blog.