State health officials Wednesday suspended the license of Lewis County midwife Laura Hamilton, saying she put the health of mothers and babies at risk.
Charges state Hamilton didn’t provide adequate patient care, patient assessment or appropriate screening for drug use. They also say she didn’t recognize symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome. Charges address the death of a patient’s stillborn infant, permanent injury to a patient’s newborn, and delayed assessment and treatment for drug withdrawal in a newborn.
Hamilton cannot practice midwifery in Washington until the charges are resolved. She has 20 days to respond to the charges and request a hearing.
Allegations against Hamilton are supported by three cases under investigation by the health department. Two have sparked lawsuits. Hamilton also faces a malpractice case that is under appeal.
One case led to a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Hamilton in 2017. The case states Hamilton didn’t follow her policies, which contributed to the stillbirth of the patient’s baby.
Another case alleges Hamilton’s actions caused a permanent injury to another baby she delivered in 2014. That case led to a medical malpractice lawsuit against Hamilton.
The third case under investigation alleges Hamilton mishandled the birth of a baby exposed to heroin in utero.
The Daily News published an extensive article on lawsuits and complaints against Hamilton on July 29, 2017. Hamilton did not comment for that article.
Hamilton has been a licensed practical nurse since 1977. She has been the subject of dozens of complaints, professional disciplinary orders and was subject to multiple state health department investigations over her career.
State investigations included a 1994 case in which an administrative health law judge determined Hamilton’s negligence was a factor in the death of a 21-year-old mother.
Hamilton was allowed to continue practicing but was ordered to undergo training and comply with additional terms and conditions. Health officials received complaints alleging the midwife violated the conditions. Health department officials couldn’t explain why Hamilton did not face more severe sanctions after the complaints.