Letter to the Ventura County Newspaper

The following letter was written and sent yesterday. Thank you, Dana, for caring and taking action. I hope others will follow your lead. The women of Ventura County deserve an explanation, no matter how lame. We have to try to hold accountable those that would limit a woman's right to choose. Dr. F

(To the) Ventura County Star

It has been brought to my attention that midwives are allowed to deliver at St. Johns Regional Medical Center but have just recently been prohibited from delivering at Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo . Has there been any news of this in the STAR, or did I miss it?

It is disturbing to me to think that the community’s option of a midwife delivery in Camarillo has been removed. Mothers want to deliver their children where they live, right?

I have been a patient at The Woman’s Place in Camarillo for some time, and am aware that this office has thankfully provided Ventura County the option and choice of midwifery care. How, when, where and who delivers a child is a very personal and deliberate decision for a family. For us to accept that it is okay to force an expectant mother outside of her home/city/community, in order for her to receive the care and follow through on the birth plan she has so carefully chosen, seems degrading and insulting. What an unnecessary constraint and loss to our community. Catholic Healthcare West states on their website that they are making health care more accessible by bringing resources closer to where people live and work. It certainly doesn’t seem like it.

- Is it really true, that Pleasant Valley Hospital has prohibited midwives?

- Why has Pleasant Valley Hospital made this decision?

- What concern or consideration have they made for our community?

- Why can midwives deliver at St. Johns and not Pleasant Valley ? These hospitals are both owned by Catholic Healthcare West, right?

I believe our community would be very interested in this story and the impact this action would have on our community. The thought of midwives being limited to one hospital is devastating and culturally not a move in the right direction. What is this leading to? I hope to see answers to these questions and would like to see some coverage of this in the STAR.

Thank you for your consideration and time.

Dana Stoneking

Blogger's note: Although the revocation of midwife privileges has passed department committees and been approved by the Medical Executive Committee without public comment, it has not yet formally been approved by the Board of Directors. However, I have been informed that the chairman of the OB Dept. has been quoted as saying "It's a done deal." SJF