The Texas Midwifery Act requires anyone attempting to practice as a midwife in the state of Texas to be in possession of a license. According to section 203.002(7) of the Act, the practice of midwifery is defined as:
(A) providing the necessary supervision, care, and advice to a woman during normal pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period;
(B) conducting a normal delivery of a child; and
(C) providing normal newborn care.
Clearly, this is a vital service that many Texans rely upon in their most vulnerable hour—and for weeks thereafter. In order to obtain a license to practice, a prospective licensee must satisfy the requirements for basic midwifery education, including administering CPR and newborn screening tests and must pass a comprehensive examination in midwifery as well as a jurisprudence examination. Until the license has been granted to the midwife, they may not begin to practice. This is a great deal of effort to go through, but it provides many midwives with a satisfying and meaningful career. So when a complaint is filed with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation against the license of a midwife, it can cause a great deal of stress and worry for the licensee, whose career and livelihood are now at stake.
There are several practices that the legislature has prohibited midwives from undertaking in section 203.401, and for which discipline might be administered. Midwives may not:
(1) provide midwifery care in violation of commission rule, except in an emergency that poses an immediate threat to the life of a woman or newborn;
(2) administer a prescription drug to a client other than:
(A) a drug administered under the supervision of a licensed physician in accordance with state law;
(B) prophylaxis approved by the Department of State Health Services to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum; or
(C) oxygen administered in accordance with commission rule;
(3) use forceps or a surgical instrument for a procedure other than cutting the umbilical cord or providing emergency first aid during delivery;
(4) remove placenta by invasive techniques;
(5) use a mechanical device or medicine to advance or retard labor or delivery; or
(6) make on a birth certificate a false statement or false record in violation of Section 195.003, Health and Safety Code.
Complaints made concerning these practices may not have occurred, but this won’t stop the Department from investigating a complaint.
This is why, as soon as the letter informing a midwife of the complaint against them arrives, they should contact a qualified and experienced professional license defense attorney. The more time we have to craft a response, the better. And the earlier in the process we are involved, the more likely the licensee is to achieve a positive outcome—up to and including a dismissal of the complaint. But we can’t help if we aren’t contacted.
If you have been notified of a complaint from TDLR, BERTOLINO LLP can help. Our experienced professional license defense attorneys are skilled at navigating the Department’s complaint process. We are prepared to represent you at any legal hearing or proceeding regarding your professional license. With offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, we serve clients all over the state. As experienced attorneys, well-versed in state and federal laws, we know how to win. Contact us today or call (512) 476-5757 to schedule a case evaluation.