BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Two Idaho midwives had their licenses permanently revoked and were fined a total of $14,500 after three babies died while under the care of their birthing center in Meridian.
In March, the Idaho State Board of Midwifery suspended the midwife licenses of The Baby Place owner Coleen Goodwin and her daughter, Jerusha Goodwin. On Monday, regulators barred the two from practicing for good after ruling their conduct was unprofessional and illegal.
In one instance where a baby died after a student midwife improperly cut its umbilical cord, regulators found the Goodwins made a difficult situation worse by not adequately informing emergency personnel what happened.
In separate board action Monday, midwife Sherryl Lynn Riener of Cottonwood agreed to pay a $500 fine and was placed on two years' probation after investigators alleged, among other things, that she provided services to a Spanish-speaking woman without a translator — and failed to accompany the woman to the hospital after complications emerged during the birth.
The Goodwins didn't return phone calls Wednesday. Coleen Goodwin has attended more than 1,500 births, according to her business's website.
The Goodwins' continued involvement in the Meridian birthing center is unclear; on June 5, the business changed its name to New Beginnings Baby Place, but multiple phone calls haven't been returned.
Midwives offer out-of-hospital and home birth options for women, though their practice is generally limited to healthy pregnancies; Idaho enacted mandatory licensing in 2010.
In an Aug. 10 birth in which a baby in the Goodwins' care died, there is a separate Meridian Police Department investigation on grounds that emergency personnel weren't contacted quickly enough. The mother labored for more than 48 hours and Jerusha Goodwin waited 11 minutes to call paramedics after a baby was born "limp, unresponsive and pale," investigators wrote.
Police said in July they were getting set to forward their investigation to Ada County prosecutors. They didn't return a phone call Wednesday.
On Oct. 11, 2010, the student midwife improperly cut an infant's umbilical cord, resulting in significant blood loss.
And on June 30, 2010, Coleen Goodwin delayed paramedics from entering The Baby Place for four minutes, then instructed them to transport the mother to a hospital in Boise, even though there was a facility just minutes away in Meridian where the mother wanted to be taken.
That added 20 minutes to a journey where the baby's life was in jeopardy, according to Monday's order.
Dani Kennedy, a former midwife at The Baby Place who now practices in Hawaii, has told The Associated Press that the Goodwins had a poor relationship with doctors at St. Lukes Meridian Medical Center, resulting in a reluctance to transport patients there.
According to Monday's order, Coleen Goodwin asked Kennedy to destroy records from the June 2010 birth, then create new ones that characterized the mother in a negative light — and sought to obscure Goodwin's conduct.
"Coleen Goodwin implicitly admitted that her original records were incomplete and that she failed to maintain accurate records," the board wrote. "Coleen Goodwin further demonstrated her lack of desire to preserve accurate contemporaneous records by asking Kennedy to destroy her notes."
Coleen Goodwin must pay a $9,500 fine, while Jerusha Goodwin must pay a $5,000 penalty. They also have to cover the investigation's cost, which is still being calculated.
In April, the Goodwins also agreed to a $5 million settlement in a lawsuit separate from the three cases that resulted in their licenses' revocation. A couple sued them after their baby suffered brain damage in 2008, alleging the Goodwins' conduct during the birth led to the injuries.
In the case involving the Cottonwood midwife, the Board of Midwifery concluded Riener violated laws requiring midwives to obtain informed consent from their clients, failed to share information in a language she could readily understand and didn't keep proper records.
To have her probation lifted, Riener must pay the fine, cover the $3,750 cost of the state's investigation and create written guidelines for her practice — citing medical or professional publications — that address its shortcomings.
"Provided respondent complies with all other terms of this stipulation, respondent may request that the board terminate the conditions of probation," regulators wrote. "Any request for termination of probation must be accompanied by written proof of compliance."
Riener didn't return a call Wednesday.