In this case the plaintiffs were a postnatal mother, her husband and her newborn baby. They claimed that when the midwife in the Sendai Municipal Hospital delivered the newborn to the mother, she/he didn’t check the baby thoroughly, and that she/he was responsible for not providing adequate supervision in the process of breastfeeding. As a result, the baby was permanently disabled due to oxygen deficiency during lactation. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit and claimed for damages against the midwife for her/his breach of duty of care.
In the first instance, the Sendai Court considered that, according to a generally concept, the process of giving birth is a physiological behavior depending on a mother’s self-help, while a medical institution only provides its guidance and assistance. For that reason, the responsibility of a midwife for supervision is to confirm the mother is capable of dealing with her baby when the baby’s delivered. In this case that means to be aware that the mother could cause harm to her baby and to foresee the possibility of any accident. The court finally decided that the midwife did not violate the duty of care and supervision. All the plaintiff’s requests were rejected.