Hospital to Midwives: Go Elsewhere

| 2/19/2010 2:08:24 PM

A California hospital has banned midwives from delivering babies, saying they must deliver at a larger facility 11 miles away that has a neonatal intensive care unit. The Ventura County Star reports on the controversy and the midwives’ reaction to the decision in Camarillo, California:

The two midwives who deliver at least 60 babies a year at the Camarillo hospital said they don’t understand the reasoning because they rarely have complications. …

Midwives said they’re worried that patients who want to deliver their babies at a Camarillo obstetrics unit they described as quiet and homey may not want to go a busy, much larger hospital. They also questioned why hospital leaders decided midwives need immediate access to the intensive care unit but obstetricians-gynecologists who routinely handle high-risk births do not.

Feministing suggests an answer, writing, “It’s hard to view this decision as being motivated by anything but a distrust of midwives, especially when OB/GYNs who deal with higher-risk pregnancies are still able to use the smaller facility.”

The blog On Birthing pins the midwife ban on fallout from the hospital’s contentious relationship with a doctor who assists in home births and is affiliated with the midwives. He and the hospital have disagreed over some of his methods. “So for his non-compliance with such ‘suggestions’ on how he ought to practice, they now take it out on midwives?” writes On Birthing. “This is a travesty.”

Feministing reports that the advocacy group the Birth Action Coalition is protesting the hospital’s decision.

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