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.

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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?


Image via ethan john/Flickr

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