The Placenta Blog


Update 1.3.09:
I am not saying the allegations leveled at this birth center are true. I received the press release, and IF the things stated are true, then it is a very grievous situation and breach of trust. I will continue to post updates to this situation as news comes in.

Original Post 1.1.09:
On Christmas Eve, 12 FDA Agents accompanied by detectives and other authorities, raided the Miami Maternity Center in Miami Florida.

Allegedly, the staff was dehydrating placentas on a large scale. According to the press release, they were combining the placentas and subjecting the mothers to cross-contamination without their knowledge or consent.

I am (obviously) a huge proponent of placenta encapsulation. However, I can not in any way condone this type of activity. I created the Training & Certification program specifically to avoid these types of situations.

As an advocate for the movement toward legitimizing the use of placenta for its natural purpose, this story is absolutely outrageous. People who operate with such a total lack of regard for the gravity of the process and who apparently do not realize that the FDA is not on our side, set the movement back and make it harder for the rest of us who are being safe and working toward legitimacy.

Please, people - don’t think that you can find free instructions for drying placentas on the internet and just set up shop. This is serious. You need to comply with government standards and regulations. Get some training. Work with us. Together we can do it. But not when people like this are operating out there.

And to mothers who want help with the encapsulation process - please make sure your provider has been trained. The Placenta Encapsulation Specialists listed on the PBi website have excellent training, and operate under OSHA and FDA guidelines. Not everyone who says they can prepare a placenta knows what they are doing, as this story so blatantly demonstrates.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31,2008
Contact: Eulinda Jackson
(850) 245-4111

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH JOINT INVESTIGATION LEADS TO FEDERAL SEARCH WARRANT IN MIAMI

TALLAHASSEE— The Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) South Florida Unlicensed Activity (ULA) Unit announced today that their joint investigation with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Miami Dade Police Department’s Medical Crimes Unit (MDPDMCU) has led to the execution of a federal search warrant at a Miami birthing facility.

The target of the search warrant, the Miami Maternity Center (MMC) located at 140 N.E. 119th Street in Miami, had been suspected of providing unregulated non FDA approved capsules to clients of the facility. During a 10 month investigation by the Unlicensed Activities Unit it was learned that women who had given birth at the center were being provided placenta pills as a prophylactic measure in order to mitigate or prevent post partum depression. This is a practice that has some limited popularity among believers in traditional / ancient medicine, but has not gained acceptance in the modern medical community or FDA approval. When done, the usual procedure provides the birth mother with her own placenta that has been dehydrated and encapsulated for her use. The ULA investigation disclosed that the pills being manufactured at MMC were from the dehydrated, placentas of various birth mothers. The organs would be ground up all together inside of a coffee grinder and placed into gelatin capsules by MMC staff members. The ULA investigation also disclosed that as many as 10 to 15 placentas at a time were being placed in layers inside of the MMC dehydration machine creating a cross contamination hazard. The placenta capsules were then placed into a baggie and stapled to the patient chart. The patients were not informed that the placenta pills they were being provided were placentas from other women that were mixed together with their own placenta for processing.

On Wednesday, December 24, 2008, a team consisting of 12 FDA Special Agents, 6 Miami Dade Police Department Detectives, 2 DOH Investigators and 2 Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Investigators entered the Miami Maternity Center to facilitate the execution of the search warrant. Among the items that were seized were: all patient records from 2006 to the present (approximately 500 patient records), computers, frozen placentas, dehydrated placentas, dehydrator machine, grinding device, prescription pads, billing records and all potential biohazard items. All of the items seized were transported to an FDA facility for further analysis. Federal and State criminal charges against the owner/operator of MMC are pending. This investigation has already resulted in the September arrest of an unlicensed midwife who was working at the facility.

32 Responses to “Birth center in trouble over placenta encapsulation”

  1. Laura

    I would love to hear more about your certification program. As a midwife in the Miami area, I am unfortunately familiar with this facility, but I do have clients who are interested in this process.

  2. Jodi Selander

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you for your interest in the program. I do have a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist in the Miami area. You can find her bio online at http://PlacentaBenefits.info/NaeemahJones.

    If you are interested in going through the training yourself, or know of someone who is, you can apply online at http://PlacentaBenefits.info/Certification.asp. We may be able to get another Specialist trained out there.

    Thank you for being a placenta supporter!

  3. Tammy Jones

    I am a placenta supporter and also a client at the Miami Maternity Center. I am disappointed to read your blog and see that you are making accusations and NOT supporting midwives who share your same beliefs about placentas. The claims against the Miami Maternity Center are false.

  4. Jodi Selander

    Hi Tammy, thank you for your comment. I’m sure the birth center appreciates your support.

    I am not saying whether the allegations are true or false. I used “allegedly” and “according to the press release” to describe the situation. All I know is what I shared here.

    I stand by my original statements, because IF a maternity center and birth professionals were to engage in behavior as described, it would be outrageous and unconscionable.

    If a representative from the birth center would like to submit a statement, I would be happy to publish it here as well.

  5. Ana

    Is there an FDA regualtion in place for the making of such suppliments? I know you have to say theat the claims are not FDA approved, but what about the actuall manufacturing of?
    Obviously regulatory bodies are here to prevent something like what is alleged from happening.

  6. Ana

    One more point. I can say I found a bad doctor, that does not mean I don’t support doctors. A statement on an indiviual practice or person is not a condemnation of the entire profession. Looking around the net, the reaction of the students and clients of this woman seem cult like.

  7. Unanamous Insider

    A close relative actually went to the school and was very close to Sherri. She performed and can describe all the working in great detail. She is currently working with the investigating agencies. These allegations are definitely true and only the tip of the iceberg.

  8. Erica

    There was a statement published through the Miami Herald. Maybe you can post that on here? It’s not that your previous statements were wrong. You are correct that you used the word allegedly. But clearly they came off as if you were against the center and believed the false information in the press release. Because a reader felt comfortable telling you that she is “unfortunately familiar,” and I believe that Tammy is correct in saying that you were not supportive in your orignal post.

  9. Nikki

    Could we see the double blind placebo results? I’m not looking for a dispute I’d just like to see how you concluded placenta aids postpartum depression.

  10. Unanamous Insider

    If anyone DID have their birth at the Miami Maternity Center and took placenta pills, I suggest you get blood tests for any blood related or any disease, for that matter, including AIDS and HIV. And contact the FDA. They will want to hear from you.

    Just something to consider.

  11. abundant bearth

    I completely understand the ethical errors, but what “law of man” was broken here?

    to unanamous (perhaps you mean to say anonymous?) :
    most states have laws that pregnant women be tested for various diseases such as syphillis, HIV, Hepatitis, rubella, etc.
    I would think women who are low-risk enough for out-of-hospital birth would be screened for and cleared of any such diseases. no need to spread fear.

  12. Unanamous Insider

    abundant bearth,

    You are correct about the spelling. My spell checker caught it and i chose the wrong spelling, without rally paying attention… neither here nor there though.

    From insiders, I know the conditions and shady methods that went on MMC. And when you stack bloody placentas in a hydrator putting the newest one on top and never cleaning it, because it “takes too long.” You have a recipe for disaster and for women to be ingesting other women’s birth tissue.

    And if you can’t see how this one act of willful neglect does not translate over to the rest of her operation, you aren’t comprehending what I typed.

    Maybe I’m wrong, is it customary and helpful to ingest random women’s placenta and drippings?

  13. Complaintant #2

    ok, I have been quietly taking this all in….Now let me describe to you how placenta pills are made at the mmc. Stay close to your bathroom in case you feel sickl

    First the placenta is examined and the cord is measured and blood loss is also measured then medallions of placenta meat are cut or just chunked out with our fingers. (Keep in mind that the placenta is delivered into a pan along with any blood, mucus, baby poop and sometimes even mom’s poop all mixed up together.) These 3 to 5 pieces of placenta are arranged on the tray and placed into the dehydrator. Two or three mother’s placentas can be drying at the same time on one tray. Sometimes there were multiple trays in the dehydrator. Sections of placenta medallions were labeled by a peice of tape with the mothers name on it stuck to the outside of the tray. (Usually, just to save time, I took that peice of tape and used it to label the ziplock baggie that I put the finished placenta pills in.) The rest of the placenta was put into a red bio bag and put into the freezer. After a couple of days of dehydrating, we then placed the 3 to 5 peices of dried placenta in a coffee grinder until ground fairly fine. Finally we would scoop placenta grounds into capsules. A student finally bought a device where you could fill numberous capsules at the same time. What a time saver!!! HOWEVER, none of these machines and devices were ever sanitized and rarely washed. You may identify with the ‘blow away the crumbs’ or the ‘dust the crumbs into the trash’ method. That is what we practiced at mmc. Once, early in my time at mmc, I was earnestly washing and trying my best to sanitize the dehydrator and grinder. Shari found me doing so and scolded me saying that it was unnecesary and took to long and that I should be in clinic. Finally, the finished placenta pills were put into a baggie and placed or stapled into the mothers file to be given to her when she came back to the clinic or at her home visit.

    Now as far as screening for diseases, yes Abundant Health you are correct. However, these tests are done once or twice during the prenatal visits. Some diseases take several months to show in a test result. If the unprotected sex that got mom pregnant also gave her AIDS, would that be reflected in her initial screening? Would it show up on her 36 wk prenatal visit? What about the unprotected sex she is having in the weeks before birth? How would we know is she has contracted a disease in that time? If I were a mom who consumed placenta pills procesed by MMC, would have some testing done. Just for peace of mind.

    Additionally, I want to make it clear that I have no problem with women making choices for themselves and the way they dispose of their placentas or even if they choose to ingest their placentas. I do, however, completely disagree with the way placenta pills are processed at MMC. It is disrespectrul and unethical to process placentas in the way we were taught. Some of the clients at MMC have strong ideas about health and cleanliness. Some have strong religious views. The MMC way of processing placentas is definately NOT kosher or healthy or clean. Shari violates women when she presentes them with contaminated placenta pills. I am truely sorry that I participated in these activities while I was at MMC and I give my sincerest appologies to any and all moms that will be affected by this information. The only way to start to make it right is to cooperate in the discovery process and bring to light what truely is happening at this birth center.

  14. Concerned citizen

    This sickens me… I am glad that someone is stepping up to the plate and letting it be known what happened there! They are going to need former students and employees like you to act as witnesses to finally shut this woman down!

    Abundant Bearth… what law of man was broken? How about manufacture and distribution of supplemental drugs without licensure? Sounds like a pretty big law to break… federal!

  15. Complaintant #2

    Get more facts about MMC and Shari Daniels at http://www.miamibirth.info. This site also has info on how/where to file a complaint if you were given placenta pills, etc. VERY INTERESTING!!!

  16. Complaintant #2

    Shari’s students and clients, please comment on why Shari is leaving Florida. How do you feel about her abandoning you all? Why is she running? Placenta Pills? I doubt it! Think about the bigger picture and the pattern she has already established. Go to miamibirth.info to see for yourselves.

  17. Concerned By-stander

    Shari is leaving Florida? Or is she fleeing the scene of the crime?This woman’s unethical practices must be stopped. I am so thankful for the wonderful midwives out there that practice with a good conscience, ethics and morals.

  18. marcia

    I had my second child with Shari at the Miami Maternity Center. Shari and the staff were very professional and took good care of us. If I get pregnant again I will go back to Shari and her staff.

  19. Anonymous

    I to was a patient of Shari Daniels. The day you get a phone call from the department of health because staff members have provided information regarding the unethical unlicensed practices of the Miami Maternity Center is the day that you take your head out of the sand and pay attention to the allegations-since it could be a matter of your life or the life of your unborn child. Let me stop right here and tell you this: I left MMC for another midwifery practice after I received the call from the department of health. I had a wonderful midwife and birthing experience. I also took placenta pills after the birth of my son. I advocate for birthing centers and midwives who practice within the scope of their licensure and the law. I believe that a woman should be able to choose where and how she gives birth to her child. With all of that being said those who continue to support Shari Daniels and her corrupt practices should take a look at all of the evidence and allegations. It goes much deeper than placenta pill contamination. How about infant death? Why would former students and employees of the maternity center “make up” such allegations. The same stories coming from multiple sources deserve a closer look. I personally along with other former patients/victims of Shari Daniels who were violated by her unethical practices will fight to make sure that her birth center is shut down and she does not continue to endager the welfare of mothers and their unborn babies. For those of you who continue to seek care at Miami Maternity Center I pray each and every night for your safety and the safety and good health of your babies. I also encourage you to take a closer look at the treatment you think that you are receiving at Miami Maternity Center and start to question……

  20. Alonzo Esche

    Wonderful Morning, Wonderful post. colored, specially from the major news corperations with the big slants to the left or right. Did you see last nights O’Rielly factor? haha, that was rediculous! Sorry, I am rambling along once again. Have a Wonderful one!

  21. Colin Kordys

    Thanks.. funny, I actually had this on my mind a few days ago..

  22. Cellest

    As a current patient with my first child 2 weeks from my due date I can tell you I receive excellent care from Carol Williams at the MMC. I have never met Shari Daniels and I only became a patient after the raid. While I cannot speak of ‘Placenta Gate’ I can say that under the care of carol I have never felt safer.

    I had the misfortune of having a few appointments at Jackson Memorial Hospital after moving to the state and only after finding MMC did my confidence level in my care raise.

    Has anyone considered that with all the Medical controversy over Midwifery and birth Centers that these allegations may be fake? An attempt to close down birth centers one by one? Let’s face it Births are big business for hospitals.

    Regardless of ‘Placenta Gate’ (which I cannot speak on, because I wasn’t present) the care and cleanliness there now is that of sterile environment.

    Shari is leaving I don’t know as to why though. Never having met her I cannot attest to her as a person or her practices, all I can vouch for directly is Carol Williams and she is an excellent midwife. She makes you feel completely safe for such a tiny woman. LOL

    ~Cellest

  23. The Placenta Blog » Blog Archive » Certification for placenta encapsulation. Why bother?

    [...] Independent practitioners who prepare placentas without any rules or standards are much more likely to get into trouble, and that jeopardizes the entire movement. If a person were caught with a placenta, the media would be all over it, painting everyone in the same light as a “crazy placenta lady”. Yes, I hold that title proudly, but I also keep it safe and within the law. But someone transporting a placenta, or preparing a placenta in their own home, could also be arrested, like the New York midwife who was arrested for bringing a placenta home, or even have an FDA raid on your place of business, like what happened to Shari Daniels in Miami. [...]

  24. Mercedes

    Where is Shari Daniels? Why is no one talking about why she left Florida?

  25. J Cardens-Ballentine

    Shari suffered a mild stroke a little over a year ago. She has been in India delivering babies born to street women. Carol who has worked with her for years at MMC is running the show.

  26. miami maternity center

    [...] The Placenta Blog В» Blog Archive В» Birth center in trouble over … Jan 1, 2009 … The target of the search warrant, the Miami Maternity Center (MMC) located at 140 N.E. 119th Street … [...]

  27. GRAPHIC VIDEO: How To Cook And Eat A Placenta: Eat-The-Afterbirth Advocates Speak Out | | SparkInjector.comSparkInjector.com

    [...] long placentas and pills don’t cross state lines, an FDA spokeswoman said. Although in 2008, FDA and Florida state authorities raided a Miami birthing center accused of mixing ground-up placentas from various mothers into large [...]

  28. Complaintant #2

    http://ww2.doh.state.fl.us/FinalOrderNet/folistbrowse.aspx?LicId=41&ProCde=%203201&discpln=AC%20Filed

  29. ron samuel

    Well it is very obvious that Shari was becoming much to popular and giving women REAL alternatives to the MEDICAL BIRTH industry. Unfortunately in America this is the way excellence is rewarded. I personally know Shari and consider her more than a friend. Two of my daughters were born with her and in both cases, without Shari the result would have been C-Sections. Shari is great at what she does and she is a blessing to the women who have had the opportunity to use her services.

    Just like Dr. Burzynski who has been curing incurable forms of Cancer while fighting off the FDA in his free time, Shari and anyone who provides real solutions which the industry cannot benefit from, will find themselves eventual in a fight with the establishment.

    I hope Shari not only leaves Florida but leaves America and finds a better place in the world where she can continue doing what she has been doing so well for such a long time. Shari hang in there.

  30. Kris

    This is really sad :( Shari delivered my baby girl back in 2001 and I’ve never forgotten her or the center. Every time we drive by the old center on 79th Street, I point it out to my daughter (now 11) and tell her that is where she was born. We just recently moved back to Florida and I was wondering where the center went and how Shari was doing. I’m saddened to see what has happened. Whether these allegations were true or not, Shari loved the women she helped and the babies she assisted in bringing into this world, I don’t doubt that. We were struggling financially at the time and she accepted some household items I had in storage and didn’t need as payment for the childbirth - which was kind of her. I hope she is doing well… wherever she is!!

  31. Pat

    I thank god I found shari after my obstetrician told me I would bleed to death if I tried to give birth after my c section . I was frightened and confused. She gave me assurance and above all love. 9 months later I gave birth to my daughter with her in Miami beach. A year and a half after that another VBAC with my second daughter. She empowered me and to this day just knowing her and being a part of her birthing center brings back such wonderful memories. She delivered my babies and then made us dinner. I sat w her and my family 2 hrs after delivery. While she prayed and I nursed. Regardless of what’s alleged or not she has positively touched and blessed the lives of thousands of women. Fourteen years later I was lookin for her to deliver my first grandchild. I trusted her w my life and the lives of my children. It saddens me to read such negativity apparently based in jealosy and ignorance. . Shari wherever you are keep building, keep teaching, keep giving.

  32. ron samuel

    Two years have passed since my last post and I am looking for Shari again. It comforts me to think that if Jesus were to return again people would probably crucify him again. Shari is a hero, my hero. If a person is fortunate enough in a lifetime to meet one hero or in this case a shero, they should consider themselves lucky. I remember the doubts when my wife told me she wanted to go to a midwife to have our daughter Anouk. One second in Shari’s presence and all my doubts were gone. Our health insurance was brand new when my wife and I found out that we were pregnant so we were not sure if it would cover the birth or not. I expressed this doubt to Shari. Her response was typical of Shari. “Either you will be able to pay, or the insurance will be able to pay or you will not be able to pay. Either way this baby has to be born and if you want to have this baby here with me, you can.”

    Exceptional people are always, sooner or later, the targets of society. Shari is in good company. Soon I will find her again. If any of you go to the birthing center in Miami, those beautiful pictures of pregnant women on the walls are all mine. They are now 16 and a half years old.

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