CAROL NEEDS HELP!
Carol Severson is an Oregon midwife facing a terrible and unjust challenge!
(scroll to the bottom of this article for update)
Here is Carol's story, in her own words:
I will be in court on June 24, 2004 at 1:30 pm to plead "NOT GUILTY" to a charge brought against me by
the District Attorney of Marion County of "Criminal Mistreatment in the 2nd degree".
For those of you have not heard what is happening, on January 31,2001, I delivered a baby with a moderate dystocia
and cord around the neck 2 times. Apgars were 3, 7, 9. Baby responded well with our initial efforts of bag and mask.. It was
apparent after some time that this baby needed more help, so we transported to the nearby hospital. Baby responded well.
SOMEONE called Salem police, an investigation was made and mistake # 1 (even if you are innocent, NEVER talk to police
without an attorney present!). Then on April 16, I was contacted by a investigator who wanted to ask me questions,
(Bigger mistake NEVER, NEVER, talk to an investigator without an attorney present!!) but, having nothing to hide, I talked
to him. By the way BABY is FINE and parents know nothing of what is going on, to my knowledge. (Mom of baby called the following
day to ask me question about birth certificate and tell me the baby had been to the Ped for check up and was doing really
good, in the 90th percentile).
The investigation went poorly, he made me feel like a fool, scoffed at me. That was one of the worst days of my life.
No "rights" were read to me because he wasn't arresting me, that day. The following week I was given the choice of coming
and picking up my citation and being booked (finger prints and all) or them coming out hand-cuffing me and taking me to the
jail where they would do it.
This can happen to anyone of us, even if the baby if fine. Without a trial this has already cost me close to $4000,
and if it goes to trial, ???? $10,000+
I represent all midwives in Oregon and I am going to do my best. I followed my guidelines as a licensed midwife!
The piece of paper given me in the Circuit Court says that I "having assumed the care, custody and responsibility for
the supervision of........., did unlawfully and with criminal negligence withhold necessary and adequate medical attention".
If I had called 911 maybe I wouldn't be dealing with this issue.
Yes it has been hard for me, I have never been involved with the law, don't know the process. I dismissed my first
attorney because he told me he "loved to go to trial" and after the fourth meeting I decided it would be in my best interest
to find an attorney that would try to keep this from going to trial, since that baby is fine. First attorney also said I needed
to take out a loan for $15,000 and at that it was still going to cost me more.
I know there is a reason for all of this, if nothing more than a "wake up call"
to ALL midwives. If this goes to trial I will let everyone know. Those of you who have the time and want to attend Thursday
court are welcome. It will be short, I just plead "not guilty" and a trial date will be set. My new attorney is going to meet
with the mother of the baby and see if she will sign an affidavit to get this dropped. Then it will be left up to the court
for them to decide if they still want to go to trial. If she signs, this would be an important time for all of you who can
come to support midwifery and be there the day it goes to the court to be determined trial or be dropped.
(Update: Carol entered a "Not Guilty" plea and a court date was set)
NOTE FROM GAIL:
Every midwife, every student, every apprentice, every homebirth family should rally around Carol. Any of us can find
ourselves in a similar situation. Following the rules, obeying all the guidelines, is not a guaranteed protection against
an unjust legal attack.
This is an attack against ALL midwives, against Homebirth, and against Midwifery! Support Carol as she fights this charge!
Help protect Midwifery!
HOW TO HELP CAROL:
COME TO THE COURT HEARING!
Date: July 28, 2004
Time: 8:30 AM
Place: Marion County Courthouse,
100 High Street NE
(be aware that court dates may suddenly change! Check your email or this website or Pacific Northwest Midwives for updates!)
HELP WITH FINANCES! (Think how we would feel if WE were the midwife facing this! Wouldn't we hope for help from our sister
THE FASTEST AND MOST EFFECIENT WAY TO FUNDRAISE IS TO OPEN OUR OWN CHECKBOOKS! Even if only fifty of us contribute $50
each, Carol will be able to pay $2500 of her attorney fees! Some of us may be able to contribute more and others less, but
lets each send every dollar we can! Helping with attorney fees is the best way we can show our support. And Carol deserves
our support! She's well-known to Oregon midwives, an old friend and a good midwife!
Mail contributions to help pay attorney fees:
2532 Santiam Hwy SE
Albany, OR 97322
Or use paypal to:
(you can click on the logo button below to send directly to Carol's paypal account)
Check back soon for more information on Carol's case! I'll keep
this page current!
COME TO COURT! Carol is scheduled for 8:30AM July 28th at Marion county Courthouse in Salem Oregon. She would love
to have us present!