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Do you think water births should be stopped because some people have had a tragic experience with them?

Posted by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:11 PM
  • 15 Replies

Couple Sues to Have Water Births Shut Down After Suffering Tragic Consequences


A lot of parents these days are opting for a water birth to welcome their babies into the world. It's supposed to be a gentler transition for baby entering the world -- not to mention the pain-easing benefits for laboring moms. Occasionally though, things go terribly wrong, like they did in 2011 for Luca Marino, whose parents are now suing to have water-birth programs shut down.

In 2011, Amy Benton and Matthew Marino opted to have a water birth for their now 3-year-old son Luca, at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in North Portland.

They filed a lawsuit this week asking for more than $35 million for their son's care and suffering, and have asked a judge to "prohibit Legacy from performing water births at any of its five Oregon hospitals."

Luca Marino suffers from cerebral palsy, hearing problems, and other serious disabilities, which his parents say were a direct result of his botched water birth. The little boy will need life-long care.


The suit claims that Legacy never should have allowed Amy to have a water birth, due to high-risk complications during her pregnancy. Luca was deprived of oxygen at birth, and not resuscitated until it was too late. The parents claim that he should have been delivered by Cesarean section.

They also fault Legacy for failing to have an obstetrician at the birth -- they only had nurses and midwives.

OK ... this is certainly a tragic story, and it sucks that this little boy will suffer needlessly because of the circumstances of his birth. But if it was a high-risk pregnancy, why were his parents even considering a water birth? Anyone who opts to go that route has to have done some research on it, right?

The statistics are out there. The warnings are out there. Maybe Legacy did this couple a disservice by downplaying the risks involved with a water birth, but as parents, why didn't they do some extra research themselves?

Do you think water births should be stopped because some people have had a tragic experience with them?

by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:11 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:14 PM
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No, people have had babies and moms die during hospital births and home births.
Most water births are normally done at home or a birthing center and not in a hospital setting.
These parents are just looking for money. They picked a water birth, but now that something is wrong with their child, they want someone to blame other then themselves.
by Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:16 PM
This is very tragic. But parents need to also do their research and take charge of their birth experience. If it was high risk, why didn't they ask for an OB to be present?

I do think the hospital or birthing center is partially resoonsible, but the parents shoulder some responsibility too.

Very sad, though.
by Silver Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 7:22 PM
No, things can happen with any birthing choice. They also ignored physician advice and had the water birth.
by Emerald Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 8:29 PM

No.  They aren't something I'd want. But the results sounds a lot like similar results from other births. I wonder if they did not have an OB? None is mentioned, only the company that owns the hospital. In the reading material given to the couple, were there no warnings? There are 5 minute warnings on meds on TV, isn't there a warning in the paperwork about a birth situation?  Since the birth was high risk, why wasn't she restricted more in her choices.

by Ruby Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 8:35 PM
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I don't think that it's fair to eliminate all water births because one family had a bad experience. I'd be willing to bet money that they made all of those choices in the first place and now that it went wrong they want money. Bad things like this happen everywhere and to everyone regardless of what type of birth it is. It's sad but it's life.
by Gold Member on Jan. 20, 2015 at 8:43 PM
1 mom liked this

They aren't trying to stop all water births. They are trying to stop THIS hospital, whom they feel was negligent and caused their son a lifetime of problems, from performing them. If they hospital isn't doing it safely, then they should be stopped.

by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 8:45 PM
1 mom liked this

Tragic story but no they should not be banned, perhaps this hospital should be investigated to make sure they are performing them correctly.

by Carin on Jan. 20, 2015 at 11:49 PM

Ok, I am sorry for what happened to their son, but I fail to see how a water birth caused his cerebral palsy or any of the other conditions. Wouldn't that have been predetermined while he was in the womb?

I don't think either that a gun was held to their heads to make them have a water birth. Yeah, I'm probably going to sound callous here, but really, accept some responsibility.

by on Jan. 20, 2015 at 11:55 PM
1 mom liked this

They need to take responsibility for the choices that they made. They CHOSE a midwife over an OB, and i am sure that they insisted on keeping their midwife after learning that their pregnancy was high risk. They CHOSE to have a water birth, there is a process you have to go through to get one of those, its not like you can just waltz into a hospital and have a water birth.

These people are sue happy and money hungry.

by Hannah on Jan. 21, 2015 at 4:51 AM

I don't think water births should be stopped, but that's not what this couple is asking for. It sounds like the hospital was negligent. It's a malpractice suit, no different than suing a doctor who's negligent during surgery, etc. No one would say that all doctors should stop practicing because one makes a deadly error, that would be silly. I just hate when things get misinterpreted and overblown. Yes the parents should have done more research, but ultimately that's the healthcare provider's responsibility, not the patient's.

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