Monday, March 10, 2014

W T F ?!?

In the world of social media, the implication behind the letters WTF are well known.  The irony of these three little letters could be no more appropriate in considering the latest from the Willow Tree Family Center. 

 Willow tree might ring a bell.  We wrote about the new family center back in April of last year, in the post entitled "An Open Letter to the Willow Tree Family Center."  The concept of this new center is essentially to provide an open space where care providers can offer pregnant women their services and house resources for families.  Sounds nice right?  

In our open letter to the founders last year, we urged them to carefully consider the ethics of the care providers who functioned within their facility, and moreover to consider the ethics of the care providers they named on their website offering unsuspecting families their services.  As it turned out, the response received indicated they didn't like the affiliation with the Greenhouse Birth Center, and asked that we remove our original title, "Greenhouse Birth Center Reincarnated".  Politely we obliged, but in looking at the newly revealed website of care providers the title wasn't far off the mark.  In fact you could say it was dead on.  I wish I could say the founders of the Willow Tree Family Center are more concerned with safety and ethics than they are with their image. 

The Greenhouse Birth Center closed its doors in 2012 after the death of our baby, Magnus Snyder and numerous other accounts of deaths and injuries in the hands of the midwives working there.  After fund raising efforts to support legal fees for the center and midwives that didn't bother to carry malpractice insurance, the majority of the GBC board moved on to raise money for a new endeavor, and hence the Willow Tree Family Center was born.  The questionable care that took place at GBC was highly publicized.  The founders at Willow Tree were notified in our open letter that many of the midwives and other types of care providers they were considering were in fact involved with dangerous practices.  

The response?  

A handy little "Provider Directory"with a convenient disclaimer absolving themselves of any ethical responsibility whatsoever for having provided the public with such a classy list of care providers:

     "Disclaimer: This Provider Directory is a compilation of providers who have indicated 
      that they provide services related to pregnancy, birth, women and children. Willow 
      Tree Family Center does not guarantee the accuracy or validity of any of the 
      credentials listed, nor do we recommend nor endorse the competence or expertise of 
      anyone listed. Willow Tree Family Center shall not be responsible, directly or 
      indirectly, for any damages or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection 
      with the use of or reliance on any provider in this Provider Directory. Willow Tree 
      encourages consumers to verify the credentials of providers and interview providers 
     to find the care that is right for each family."

The unsuspecting public may wonder why such a disclaimer might be necessary.  The answer...because the founders of the Willow Tree Family Center absolutely knew about everything that happened at Greenhouse Birth Center, and they worked hard to consult with lawyers to ensure they covered their own asses.  

The language is precise and purposeful.  To translate for families considering the care providers on this list, these people don't want to be held liable when babies die.  They know darn well babies have died, and been injured many times over in the hands of the people listed on their website, yet chose to name them anyway as a provider in our area.  The kicker is that they conveniently excuse themselves on any responsibility in doing so.

Need more precise examples:

Consider Audra Post, CPM, midwife extrordinare attended the botched delivery of our son, watched him born without breathing, even drove me to the hospital hours later so we could spend two weeks wondering if he would live.  She was named in our lawsuit that followed, and filed bankruptcy to dismiss the case from civil court.  Weeks later she opened a new business, her own home birth midwifery practice, backed up by the other two midwives who attended our son's birth.  

Nothing harmonious about that, and yet her name appears on the Willow Tree Family Center's directory as if nothing ever happened. 

Consider Heather Paris, Childbirth Educator and Mitzi Montague-Bauer, Doula, both former owners in part of the Greenhouse Birth Center.  Also both of whom played a timely part in convincing me that it would be a good choice to trust the midwives (Audra Post, CPM, Shelie Ross, CNM, and Clarice Winkler, CNM) to deliver a 10+ pound frank breech baby outside a hospital.  Also both of whom know every detail of the shady events and afterward lies that took place surrounding Magnus's birth.  How do I know this...because I told them personally by phone in the weeks after his death as I tried to sort out what had happened in my own grieving mind.  And finally, both of whom NEVER bothered to tell me they were part owners in the very business venture they were "recommending" for our care.    

Yep, they are both listed in the Willow Tree Family Center directory too, and had a hefty role in "town hall" type meetings that brought the creative idea of a reincarnated center to life. 

Consider Dr. Nancy Herta, OBGYN, and "Consulting Physician" for the Greenhouse Birth Center.  Dr. Herta provides advice when the midwives call upon her for consultation or referral.  In MI, there is no definition for what this role entails.  So even when a client is sent at 37 weeks to her office for a patient-requested ultrasound that reveals a breech baby, there are no established guidelines for what is actually assessed in that ultrasound, other than what the midwives requested.  Dr. Herta never reviews the case, supposedly never looks at the ultrasound, and doesn't advise the midwives providing the care.  

When bad things happen, it's easy to say she didn't know about it.  Another great example of self-absolution of any ethical responsibility.  

I don't know every provider named in the WTF Center's directory, nor do I care to.  Considering the reputation of those I do know, I would caution every family to think twice about the lack of ethical thought and responsibility that went into creating this public listing of "resources".  I would also caution every provider on that list to carefully consider the company you keep.  

In knowing who created the WTF Center, the motives behind the effort, and the providers they support in their attempt at "holistic, family-centered care", it is imperative that Lansing Area families understand who it is hosting this gathering place of questionable professionals.  

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