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B.C. regulator says unauthorized midwife operating in Fraser Valley

In this Nov. 29, 2005 file photo, an expecting mother is examined by a midwife during a home visit in Free Union, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff) In this Nov. 29, 2005 file photo, an expecting mother is examined by a midwife during a home visit in Free Union, Va. (AP Photo/Andrew Shurtleff)
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The provincial body that regulates nurses and midwives in British Columbia has issued another public alert about someone who is allegedly acting as a birth attendant or midwife without accreditation.

In its latest advisory, the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives says Lucy Hope Crawley has advertised birth attendant services and may be acting as a midwife in the Fraser Valley area, despite not being registered with the college.

"Lucy Hope Crawley has never been and is not a registrant of BCCNM and is not entitled to practise as a midwife in British Columbia," the regulator said in a public advisory Monday.

The warning is at least the fifth such advisory about unlicensed midwives in just over month, and the regulator issued a more general warning in early November that using an unregistered birth attendant can be deadly.

The "BCCNM has received reports of tragic outcomes – including death – from people using unauthorized providers," the agency said at the time, while not naming any of the unauthorized midwives associated with those reports.

Only professionals who are registered with the college are entitled to use the term "midwife," the college advises, stressing that only registered midwives can provide prenatal care, manage labour and attend home births as a midwife, while those who use titles such as "birth attendant," "birth keeper," or "traditional midwife" without college authorization are also in breach of provincial licensing requirements.

Unlicensed midwives or birth attendants do not carry malpractice insurance and are not governed by a regulator that can investigate credentials or complaints, leaving birth parents with no recourse to recover damages in court, the college warns.

The agency also cautions that unauthorized providers do not have access to the same medications, laboratory and ultrasound equipment available to registrants, and do not have the same privileges of integration into hospitals or other health-care settings if the need arises.

The provincial regulator maintains an online registry where anyone can find a licensed midwife in their area or verify the credentials of someone promoting their birth services.

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