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Suspended midwives’ birthing center gets new name

An Idaho birthing center has taken a new name after midwives there were suspended earlier this year following a state investigation into babies that died.

A certificate of organization for New Beginnings Baby Place LLC was filed June 5 with the Idaho secretary of state’s office, at the same Meridian address as The Baby Place.

An answering machine message on July 13 also indicated that the business’s name had been changed to New Beginnings Baby Place.

In March, The Baby Place’s owner, Coleen Goodwin, and her daughter, Jerusha Goodwin, had their midwife licenses suspended by Idaho regulators after three babies under their care died.

Separately, the Goodwins in April also agreed to a $5 million settlement with a couple that sued them after their baby suffered permanent brain damage in 2008.

In addition, Meridian police said Friday they’ve forwarded a portion of their criminal investigation of the midwives’ role in one of the deaths to Ada County prosecutors.

Nobody at New Beginnings Baby Place returned a message seeking comment on whether the Goodwins remain involved in births at New Beginnings.

The new website indicates that another licensed midwife, Rachel Elling, is practicing at the facility, though images of Coleen Goodwin remain on the website.

Elling’s license was issued on March 26, according to the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses. That’s just three days after the Goodwins’ licenses were suspended.

Elling couldn’t be reached for comment.

State documents indicate that the license of another midwife listed on the center’s website, Janice Cook, expired July 1 and is no longer current.

Cook didn’t return a call seeking comment.

According to Idaho law, it’s a misdemeanor to practice midwifery without a license.

The Goodwins were barred from practicing in Idaho in March following a lengthy state probe into three babies who died after receiving care at The Baby Place.

The Idaho Board of Midwifery probe underscored numerous incidents in which the two women violated state rules designed to protect mothers and their babies.

Last August, Jerusha Goodwin waited 11 minutes to call paramedics after a baby was born “limp, unresponsive and pale,” investigators wrote. The mother labored for more than 48 hours.

In that case, the Meridian Police Department began a criminal negligence investigation after the baby died, given the extended labor of the mother.

Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea told The Associated Press on July 13 that his agency has forwarded some results of his agency’s inquiry to Ada County prosecutors to review for potential charges.

“They’re reviewing portions of the case right now,” Basterrechea said, adding he expects prosecutors to have the full case within weeks.

On Oct. 11, 2010, a student midwife improperly cut an infant’s umbilical cord, resulting in significant blood loss before the baby died.

In that case, Jerusha Goodwin failed to provide medical personnel at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center with relevant records, investigators wrote.

And on June 30, 2010, Coleen Goodwin delayed paramedics from entering The Baby Place for four minutes, investigators wrote.

When they were finally allowed in, Coleen Goodwin instructed them — against the mother’s wishes, investigators concluded — to drive past two nearby hospitals to St. Luke’s in Boise, adding time to a journey that ended in the infant boy’s death.

Kyle Smith, a Meridian resident listed by the secretary of state as New Beginnings Baby Place’s registered agent, couldn’t be reached for comment on July 13.

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