Arizona Department of Health to revoke midwife license

SAFFORD, AZ – Arizona state regulators are considering revoking a midwife's license after a mother and her child died as a result of complications from a home birth in December.

Sarah Kankiewicz is scheduled to have an informal settlement conference with Arizona Department of Health officials on Wednesday.

She was the midwife who attended the home birth of Jordan Terry, 28, an emergency room nurse from Safford. Jordan was expecting her third child and her due date was December 2023.

“We had this vision with the birthing pool in the living room under the Christmas tree and stockings around,” Parker Terry told ABC15 this week, six months after the deaths of his wife and son.

Jordan wanted to become a midwife to better serve her rural community, so she felt it was important to have a home birth experience herself. She hired licensed midwife Sarah Kankiewicz, who said she specialized in VBACs, vaginal births following a cesarean section. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, VBACs may pose a higher risk, in part due to the possibility of uterine rupture.

Nevertheless, after speaking with Kankiewicz, Jordan and Parker agreed to move forward.

“She gave me exactly what I wanted to hear,” Parker said. “Their plan of action was to look for warning signs there. She is there to protect mother and child and ensure safety.”

Parker was unaware before his wife's due date that Kankiewicz had been investigated by the Arizona Department of Health Services multiple times during her four years as a state-certified midwife. Regulators found “deficiencies” and accused her of failing to follow state midwifery rules during two previous births. Kankiewicz also faced repeated civil penalties. She was fined five times for failing to file required midwifery reports on her clients' care.

Jordan went into labor on the morning of December 17th. By late afternoon the baby still hadn't arrived. Parker said Jordan's face lost color and she eventually lost consciousness during labor at home.

“Her last coherent words were 'Call her,'” Parker said. “Sarah clarified: 'Call the ambulance?' And Jordan said, 'Yes.'”

Parker said the couple's baby, Mack, was stillborn at the hospital. Jordan was treated for a uterine rupture and flown to a larger hospital for further care. She didn't survive.

After reviewing the circumstances surrounding Jordan and Mack's deaths, state regulators sent Kankiewicz a notice of intent to revoke his license. It states that, in violation of Arizona regulations, the licensee “failed to immediately alert emergency medical services when the client visibly began to fail,” “failed to check the client's and fetal vitals as required,” and “failed to perform dilation as required.” “necessarily monitored”. and “provided services to a client who previously had a cesarean section with complications.”

“Admitting a client with these risk factors to a home birth increases the risk of complications and may contribute to preventable death of the mother and child,” the release said.

When reached by ABC15 by phone, Kankiewicz said her attorney advised her not to speak to the media.

“The safety and health of the mother and child is the most important thing,” Parker said. “I wish I knew then what I know now.”

Parker said he wants to educate other expectant parents about how to check a midwife's previous licensing history and any previous fines or disciplinary actions. He also said that if he had known more about VBACs and uterine rupture, he would not have advocated for a home birth. There are separate regulatory bodies for midwives and certified professional and licensed midwives.

“Looking back, it’s 2020 and it’s just killing me,” Parker said.

While he supports the state's efforts to strip the midwife of her license, Parker said, “In the end, it's just kind of a slap on the wrist, but here I am without a wife and losing a newborn child.”

Parker posted his story on social media a few weeks ago and received an outpouring of support from the community. He told ABC15 that he is in contact with other midwives and is discussing how they can advocate for stricter regulations on midwifery in Arizona.

Do you have a news tip? Email to or call 602-803-2506. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) @Melissa Blasius or Facebook.

Anna Harden

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