My co-author, Victoria Clayton and I were at the Ventura County Book Fair a couple weeks ago promoting "Fearless Pregnancy". I was honored to teach a suturing class to more than 25 birth professionals at the Santa Clarita Birth Center. And of course there is that birthing thing. In the past week I have had my first failed VBAC and another beautiful home delivery of twins. Please check out my summary in the news section of www.birthinginstincts.com
On a very sad note, my friend, mentor and colleague of 30 years passed away early Monday morning. Irwin Frankel was a wonderful physician, very hands on and old school. He was a passionate teacher with knowledge and patience and a calming influence and everyone adored him, patients and colleagues alike. They do not make them like him anymore and his passing signals the end of an era. I will miss him very much.
The contrast between an honorable man like Dr. Frankel and Pleasant Valley Hospital's own Dr. Carter could not be more stark. Some people actually fool themselves into believing what they say and some are just fools. I do not pretend to know the motivation of Dr. Carter and will leave that up to the reader. For those who have followed the antics of the obstetric committee and administration at PVH and St. John's in Oxnard in this blog and in the Ventura County Star towards midwifery you will know what I am talking about. In a recent article regarding the debate over closure of the maternity ward at PVH Dr. Carter, once again, stepped in it. Please take a moment to read the recent article "St John's Pleasant Valley Hospital Postpones Decisionon Closing OB Unit"
I commented on the article as follows:
Dr. Carter says, "I've worked here since '98 and I've never felt the lack of an NICU was a big deal. It's nine miles away." Yet Dr. Carter was an integral part of the OB committee that agreed on a year long ban of midwives for just that reason. Former CEO, Mike Murray, echoed Dr. Carter's position in a story in this paper at the time. Citing "safety" as the reason for the midwife ban. It would seem from Dr. Carter's words here that safety was never the issue. Which we all really knew anyway. The motivation for keeping or closing the unit will remain economics. Also, the reporter should try to see how much the anesthesia and pediatric departments have brought pressure to bear for closure. It is hypocritical to argue safety then but not now. The policies in place at that hospital over that past several years are what have destroyed the census. I agree with Ms. Graf that closure of the woman's unit at Pleasant Valley would be a blow to the community. Sadly, with the unexplained departure of the supportive Mr. Bibby and the current economic forces in the medical industry it would be surprising to see our little haven survive..
The health care system is set up to create and protect the Dr. Carters of the world while what is really needed are the Dr. Frankels. Irwin held himself to such high standards that he did not need administrators and lawyers and confidential peer review committees and investigative journalists to inspire him to do the right thing. While those at Pleasant Valley Hospital impersonally debate the future of the women's unit surrounded by syncophants and protected from liability let's not pretend you and I don't really know what is going on there. Dr F