ROLAND, Okla. (KFSM) — A Roland midwife who put a mother and her baby at risk in May turned herself in to authorities on Wednesday night (Sept. 26) after being charged with practicing medicine without a license.
A warrant was issued for Debra Disch's arrest Friday (Sept.13) in Oklahoma. She turned herself in to the Sequoyah County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, where she was booked into the detention center on a $10,000 bond.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has filed charges against Disch. In 2016, Disch was banned permanently from obtaining a license to practice as a midwife in Arkansas. Disch currently works in Roland, Oklahoma, but serves the Fort Smith River Valley and the surrounding area of eastern Oklahoma, according to her website.
Disch performed an episiotomy on Elizabeth Suzie Bigler in May. Not only did she do it without a medical license, but it was her first time performing one.
“She looked up at me and said we need to do an episiotomy and I’ve never done one before,” said Bigler.
Disch also administered Pitocin to slow Bigler’s hemorrhage after giving birth despite not having a required prescription for that drug. Pitocin is a drug used to induce labor and control bleeding. Five vials of this drug were found in her residence after a search warrant was conducted.
“The details of this case are disturbing,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Our evidence shows that Disch was reckless in the way she performed this procedure and she was entirely outside the scope of her abilities and the law. The mother and her baby are lucky to be alive. We hope these charges send the message to Oklahomans looking to hire a midwife to research and choose carefully. Given her troubled past in Oklahoma and Arkansas, we also hope this puts Disch out of business.“We appreciate our law enforcement partners, who helped us with this investigation, including District Attorney Jack Thorp and his team in District 27 and the Roland Police Department.”
According to documents filed with the court, Bigler’s family made multiple attempts to have Disch call an ambulance when complications started. Disch refused to call an ambulance.
The baby was born lifeless and had to be resuscitated. Bigler told 5NEWS that Disch dropped the newborn during the resuscitation attempt. It was after that Bigler was administered two Pitocin shots to control her hemorrhage. She was finally taken to the hospital, where she remained for several days.