Monday, October 1, 2012

MANA Brushes Baby Deaths Aside

The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) has issued their September 2012 newsletter.  The representative from the Midwest, and MANA's Press Officer, Jana Studelska, has made MI midwives out to be the victims, insulted efforts to improve safety, and brushed aside baby deaths all in one foul swoop.  Instead of accurately reporting on the public outcry for safer practices, she chose to refer to legislative discussion as, "a knee-jerk reaction to an unfortunate birth outcome."  ("an" meaning Magnus, and implying that he was the only "unfortunate outcome")

Let me just point out first, that we cannot know how many "unfortunate birth outcomes" there have been this year, or any in recent past, because midwives in MI do not report data on their outcomes to any reliable source.  We do know that if we look at the Greenhouse birth center alone in the past year and a half, there have been at least two deaths, and one serious injury.  That's not accounting for the families that have contacted Safer Midwifery with extremely concerning accounts of negligent care they received from other home birth midwives, or those who haven't yet reached out.  

I'll give Jana the benefit of the doubt...perhaps she just doesn't know about the magnitude of the problems families are facing here.  That's right Jana, families, not poor, persecuted midwives who are not practicing safely!  Well founded concerns based on awareness raised by strong groups of parents, doulas, and former CPM apprentices who want safer midwifery options, is the root of a call to action.  Citizens want safer options.  This is why legislators are concerned.  This is why numerous bills are being written, and this is why we must find a safer way to practice midwifery in the state of Michigan.  Nothing "knee-jerk" about that.  Calling the hard work of concerned citizens, and our legislators, a "knee-jerk reaction" is completely degrading, and appears to be another attempt to downplay the severity of the issues.  On second thought, maybe Jana does know the magnitude of the issues here, and just chooses to ignore them to further MANA's agenda. 

I'd also like to point out that MANA's Executive Director, is Geardine Simkins, CNM, MSN, and Michigan midwife.  I don't know much about Ms. Simkins, other than the fact that she has been very supportive of the Greenhouse midwives, even backing them up at times when they overbooked.  I also know she supports licensing for CPMs, and actively serves as an executive for the organization that issued this newsletter.  I have to say, I'm enormously disappointed with MANA, NARM, and any affiliate who would let tremendous concerns for safety in our state go without adequate response, and course of action to improve.  If this newsletter represents the position of MANA as a whole, then I am gravely concerned about the leadership running this organization. 

And, speaking of leadership, it should be dually noted that none other than Clarice Winkler, CNM from Greenhouse Birth Center is named as the Program Chair for MANA.  Never mind criminal investigation, state investigation, multiple deaths, previous sanctions, and multiple bankruptcies...why not give her a position of leadership at MANA?  

I think this speaks volumes about the group behind the "Big Push for Midwives", the group fighting so hard for licensing for CPMs so they can be reimbursed by insurance companies.   This is the group defending the Indiana midwives on trial, who have opened up shop in Michigan.  This is the group educating and "certifying" CPMs, and further setting the imaginary bar for their practice. 

I'm so disgusted that MANA would downplay any baby's death to be an "unfortunate birth outcome".  How about severely negligent care, followed by no accountability whatsoever on the part of NARM or MANA, their parent organization, and no work whatsoever toward improving safety?  In fact, it's been quite the opposite...downplay, ignore, spin, push forward.  No one from MANA has talked to my family about what happened, attempted to understand what happened, or questions what took place.  Yet, our son's death is brushed aside as an "unfortunate outcome."

What about all the other babies who have died or were injured?  How about investigating for yourself MANA, every single baby death or injury that occurs with a care provider that YOU "certified"?  And that doesn't mean biased peer review.   How about acknowledging the problem, and getting to work at improving practices?  How about holding our midwives to the same standards as midwives internationally?

Looks like the spin and twisted perceptions start at the top for this pseudo-professional organization.  Readers, I hope you'll let them know how you feel.  And more importantly, I hope you'll call your Senator and State Representative today and tell them that we must do better than MANA and CPMs for Michigan's families.  
Find your legislator here.

Bothered by this?  Visit this webpage for contact information for Geradine and Jana, and let them know how grossly they are misrepresenting the concerning state of midwifery in Michigan. (If you click on this link, you need to select their name on the page to access their email.)

1 comment:

  1. No. Michigan midwives are bearing the brunt of an appropriate response to a systemic refusal to prevent "unfortunate birth outcomes".