“There’s really been no change in anything,” said St. John's Chief of Staff

And so it goes. Despite a petition from over 700 residents of Ventura County calling for an end to the midwife ban delivered by BAC chairperson, Kim Rivers, St. John's continues to refuse to explain the hypocrisy or release any supportive evidence for their decision to ban midwives from Pleasant Valley Hospital. The Ventura County Star, to their credit, has written a followup story which confirms the title of this blog but at least feels the issue is unresolved and worthy of continued scrutiny.


Reading the comments section can be fascinating and frustrating as some just do not understand what midwives do. Others have the sky is falling approach to birth while voices of reason try to elucidate common sense. BAC is committed to keeping the issue alive. Here is a copy of their press release:

St. John’s Denies BAC’s Meeting Request to Discuss the
Community’s Response to Ban on Nurse-Midwives from Attending Births

Ventura, Ca. – On May 6, 2010 a representative from the Human Resources department at St. John’s Regional Medical Center canceled a meeting with Ms. Kimberly Rivers, President of the Birth Action Coalition (BAC), that was scheduled for 3:00pm on Friday May 7th. The meeting was set with Mr. John Bibby, Director of Human Resources and St. John’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eugene Fussell. The meeting was requested and set in order for Mrs. Rivers to present BAC’s petition regarding the recent midwifery ban at Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo. On Monday May 10th without an appointment Mrs. Rivers presented the petition to the Human Resources office desk at St. John’s and was told it would be delivered to Mr. Bebe.

BAC, a community organization focused on educating and advocating for supportive birth environments, has been calling for St. John's to respond to community member requests for access to midwives, and clarification over reasons for the recent ban on nurse-midwives at Pleasant Valley Hospital since the ban. Administrators at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, part of Catholic Healthcare West, cite “patient safety” and availability of a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at the facility as the reasons for approving the policy that prohibits certified nurse midwives (CNM) from attending births at Pleasant Valley Hospital.

BAC hopes to gain a response from St. John’s through its monthly protests in front of St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and is circulating a community petition The petition asks that St. John’s administrators immediately reinstate privileges for all CNM’s at Pleasant Valley Hospital, or, that St. John’s administrators provide evidence supporting their statements that the CNM’s have been removed from the Camarillo facility due to “patient safety” (we ask that this evidence show outcomes for all care providers who have attended births at Pleasant Valley Hospital), or that St. John’s administrators retract their claims that the midwifery ban is due to “patient safety”.

(See petition at: www.petitinonline.com/speakout)

On two separate occasions Ms. Rivers contacted St. John’s for a meeting requesting 5 minutes to present the petition signed by over 700 people. Finally on May 3 an appointment was confirmed with Mr. Bebe’s office for 3:00 pm on Friday, May 7 but was then canceled on May 6. When asked for a reason why the scheduled meeting with Ms. Rivers was canceled, it was suggested that Mr. Bibby and Dr. Fussell were advised not to speak with Ms. Rivers without further explanation. “St. John’s is now outright refusing to listen to a member of the community regarding a policy they have put in place that affects the birthing women of Camarillo,” says Rivers. “ BAC plans to notify Mr. Lloyd Dean of Catholic Healthcare West regarding this clear dismissal of the concerns of community members, and we will continue to speak out on this issue until the community receives a satisfactory response. ”