Health

Friday, Nov 16 2012 06:18 AM

Woman accused of practicing medicine without a license

BY RACHEL COOK Californian staff writer rcook@bakersfield.com

State Medical Board investigators arrested a Bakersfield woman Thursday on suspicion of practicing medicine without a license, authorities said Friday.

Brenda Capps' arrest came after Medical Board investigators warned her not to practice midwifery without a license, according to a news release from the agency.

She was arrested after investigators from the board's "Operation Safe Medicine" confirmed through an undercover investigation that she was still practicing medicine, the news release said.

According to the Medical Board, Capps admitted that she did not have a license. Other public records say she's 60-years-old.

The news release said she was arrested and booked into the Kern County Jail in Bakersfield on suspicion of unlicensed practice of medicine. Capps was not listed on the Kern County Sheriff's Department's jail inmate website Friday.

Kern County Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Pafford said nothing on the case had been submitted to the DA's office for possible charges as of Friday afternoon. He could not find anything in its computer system about the case.

A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Capps said Capps and her husband were not available and there was no one to comment on the arrest.

The Medical Board caught wind of Capps through another investigation and "successful criminal prosecution" of a person for practicing midwifery and medicine without a license, according to the agency's news release.

Christine Valine, Medical Board public information analyst, said she did not know any information about the first case.

The news release said that during an initial investigation of Capps, investigators verified that she was not licensed and warned her not to act as a midwife without a license.

In California, one must be licensed by the Medical Board to be a midwife or by the state's Board of Registered Nursing to be a nurse midwife, Valine said.

Capps' name pops up on various birth-related websites and blogs. A blog profile for Brenda Capps lists her occupation as "midwife" and location as "Bakersfield, California.

"I love my calling to midwifery and feel it is my purpose in life. I have no formal education," the profile reads.

The profile said Capps worked with a midwife in Texas and Pennsylvania.

"I have read lots of books, watched videos and gone to a few meetings for midwives," the profile said.

Capps' interest in midwifery started in 1990 when a couple from her church asked her to assist with the birth of their baby, according to the profile.

"I assist at water-births, twins, breeches, VBAC's, and vertex births, all in the comfort of your home. I offer superior low-cost care for homebirth," the profile reads.

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