Obstetrician’s Opinion Letter Not Sufficient To Support Malpractice Complaint Against Midwife

An obstetrician is not a “similar health care provider” to a midwife for the purpose of providing an opinion letter supporting a malpractice complaint against certified nurse midwives. The plaintiff’s complaint alleged negligent failure to diagnose and to treat a fourth degree tear of the plaintiff's vaginal tissue, perineal skin and anal sphincter at the time of delivery and during postpartum checkups resulting in severe and permanent injuries.


In support of the complaint, the plaintiff’s attorney filed, as required by statute, a good faith certificate and an opinion letter stating that there existed evidence of medical negligence. The statute requires the letter to be written by a similar health care provider, defined as “one who: (1) is trained and experienced in the same specialty; and (2) is certified by the appropriate American board in the same specialty....”


The submitted letter was written by a board certified obstetrician who had both taught and supervised certified nurse midwives and was familiar with the standard of care required of midwives. However, the court held that a “similar health care provider” to these defendants would be one who is trained and experienced in nurse midwifery or nursing and is certified in nurse midwifery or nursing, neither of which the author was.


The trial court dismissed the action. The court of appeals affirmed.


See: Wilkins v. Connecticut Childbirth and Women's Center, 135 Conn.App. 679 (Conn.App.  May 22, 2012).