Honolulu naturopathic doctor sued over botched home birth


HONOLULU — A Manoa woman has filed a lawsuit against a Honolulu naturopathic doctor she says acted negligently and caused her son to suffer permanent brain injury.

Margaret Drake, 28, filed the negligence lawsuit Monday against Lori G. Kimata, her company Sacred Healing Arts Center and her assistant Kaja Gibbs, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

Drake’s attorney, Richard Turbin, said the case underscores the need to require specific training for naturopaths and to allow midwives in Hawaii to be licensed to perform home births.

Kimata did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Drake said her son was born limp in 2011, showed signs that he needed medical attention and was taken by ambulance to Kapiolani Medical Center in respiratory distress.

Drake said she decided on natural childbirth when she was pregnant with her son Makaio.

“It’s definitely becoming more well-known and accepted and (is) advertised as a safe option, with people who know what they’re doing,” Drake said at a news conference Tuesday.

Drake said she hired Kimata as a midwife to supervise the delivery of her son, based on information at the Sacred Healing Arts Center’s website and referrals from friends who had undergone natural childbirth.

According to the lawsuit, Drake said she notified Kimata on the evening of July 3, 2011, that her contractions had begun and that she had started leaking amniotic fluid. Kimata and Gibbs arrived at Drake’s home the following morning, Drake said.

On the advice and direction of Kimata, Drake said, she started pushing to deliver her baby on the afternoon of July 5 and gave birth that night, eight hours later.

At the hospital, Kimata gave doctors inaccurate information, including that Drake’s water broke just three hours before delivery and that she had been in labor for three to four hours, according to Drake.

Drake said Kimata also told doctors that the infant went limp after he was born and that he was given oxygen. The baby was not given oxygen, Drake said.

Turbin said Drake should have been taken to the hospital for an emergency cesarean section. Turbin also said Kimata did not know the baby was in respiratory distress because she did not use a fetal heart monitor during the delivery.

Turbin said the child has permanent brain injury because of a lack of oxygen at birth.