An open letter to all physicians:
First, let me start by saying, “Thank you,” for choosing to spend so many years studying medicine and for practicing in such a demanding field. Many of you understand what it is to be a care provider and assist countless citizens in their quest to stay healthy. This letter is primarily directed at your cohorts who have chosen this profession and seem to have forgotten the oath that they took at the beginning of their careers to ‘do no harm.’
For several years now, a consumer group called North Carolina Friends of Midwives has been working to pass legislation to license Certified Professional Midwives. These skilled care providers are credentialed by a national organization and are currently licensed in 27 other states in our country. At every turn, physicians have opposed NCFOM’s legislative efforts. And now, it seems, your Board of Medicine has taken two actions that have done a great deal of harm to the families in our state who choose to give birth out of hospital. By immediately rescinding Dr. Henry Dorn’s ability to provide physician back up to six Certified Nurse Midwives in our state, nearly 200 families were abruptly left without care, many at the end of their pregnancy. This is unacceptable.
The second action that we take issue with is the call for ‘train wreck’ transfer of care stories. What could your organization possibly gain by reading one side of a story that would have potentially ended differently had there been collaboration between physicians at the hospital and midwives who practice out of hospital? There are plenty of places in our country, and in countries all over the world, where midwives are incorporated into the medical system and work in a collaborative manner with physicians. We are gathering birth stories that ended happily in order to provide you with a more accurate picture of what birth outside of a hospital typically looks like.
We are writing to appeal to your core values as care providers. We ask you to please stop trying to prevent us from receiving care from midwives. Currently, only 1 – 2% of families are choosing to give birth out of the hospital setting. We are educated, loving adults who have made this decision based on what is best for our family. Many of us also sought out the care of a midwife because midwives view birth as a natural process, and many physicians tend to be afraid of what might happen and try to control it and intervene in order to prevent possible bad outcomes. There are plenty (over 98%) of folks who want to be cared for in the hospital, with all of the technological bells and whistles. For those of us who would make a different choice, your attempts to prevent us from achieving a different type of birth are confusing and tiresome.
We invite you to sit down with us, and explain your behavior. We ask you to truly hear our stories, and to begin working with the wonderful women who seek to serve us.