'Home birth expert' license revoked

A doctor who presented himself as a "home birth expert" had his license revoked for "negligence" and "conduct unbecoming."

Shlomo Pyotrovsky,

Doctors (Illustration)
Doctors (Illustration)
Flash 90

Jerusalem District Court Justice Bentzion Greenberger rejected an appeal by Dr. Avner Shiftan, after the doctor was convicted of medically managing home-births, while having no expertise in obstetrics.

Dr. Avner Shiftan, whose formal conviction accuses him of "conduct unbecoming of the medical profession and demonstration of inability and serious negligence in the performance of his duties," worked for years as a home birth companion, and presented himself as an expert in obstetrics. His practice went against the orders of the Ministry of Health.

Shiftan holds no degree in either gynecology or obstetrics.

Shiftan agreed to manage the home births of women who had dangerous pregnancies, instead of referring them to a hospital. He retained no medical records, and refused to cooperate with inspectors of the Ministry of Health.

The District Court ruled that, after thorough review of the report of the disciplinary committee, there is no room for error in the disciplinary conviction.

The court accepted the state's position that the Ministry of Health's reviews set the standards of health, and that in that light, the appellant's actions stand in question.

The court found it correct to suspend Shiftan's license for 5 months, though the review board was divided on how long would be an appropriate sentence.


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