MCU will keep my complaint on file, and that is all they will do.

Those who read this website know that the majority of my complaint was about how Suzanne Smith, the owner of better birth, responded to the mistreatment I went through there. In MCU’s letter they claim that Ester Werbach was never approved as a preceptor- why the HELL was she training students then??? They claim no students were involved. I say that when a student is taught that failing to obtain consent is normal midwifery practice they are plenty involved. They should have at least retrained the student who was with me when my right to refuse treatment was violated, my voice ignored. Here is the response. I’ve edited nothing except for my name:

October 18, 2013

Dear (redacted),

Thank you for alerting us about your traumatic experience with Esther Werbach and the administration of Better Birth. We are sorry that your birth resulted in PTSD and that you were not able to enjoy your son’s first few months of life without this negativity hanging over your head.

The Midwives College of Utah has completed our review of your complaint.  As outlined in our Clinical Policies and Procedures, in order for a preceptor to be approved to work in a clinical placement with MCU students, she (he) must complete an application process which outlines specific requirements.  The preceptor also signs a Clinical Training Agreement which requires certain obligations to MCU and the student.  Esther Werbach has never applied nor been approved as an MCU preceptor.  If Esther were an approved preceptor, we could require her to complete remediation before continuing to precept our students.  If the terms of remediation are not met, MCU would withdraw approval from the preceptor.

We appreciate your concern about students who may be exposed to inappropriate behavior that is not in keeping with the Midwives Model of Care. Because none of our students were involved in your birth and the incidents you summarize, we have no legal authority or right to question the behavior of Esther or Suzanne regarding this specific incident.  We will, however, keep your complaint in Better Birth’s file and take it into consideration if/when an MCU student requests a clinical placement with Better Birth.

It is our hope that in sharing the details of your traumatic experience with us, you will find victory instead of victimization.  Having the courage to speak up when one feels wronged can enlighten any of us who may become apathetic and insensitive in one of the most significant days of a woman’s life.  Though the details of your experience will remain confidential, your pain reinforces our commitment to the entitlement that all women share to have an empowered, positive and considerate birth.

Sincerely,

MCU Grievance Committee

Here is my response:

If ester was not a preceptor, why was she training students? Why did Suzanne Smith allow an unapproved person to train students?

A student was present during the exam and learned that ignoring consent is an acceptable practice.
The majority of my complaint was about Suzanne’s response to what transpired. You are unwilling to do anything about that?
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4 comments

  1. First of all sorry for your horrible birth experience. There is no excuse for this, but I don’t think blaming MCU in any way is fair. I’m a student there and they are right, if you are “learning” from an unapproved preceptor, none of that will count towards your Midwifery degree at MCU. They are very selective about who they approve as a preceptor. If there was an MCU student at that birth, she was there without the approval of MCU and would not have recieved any clinical credit for being at a birth attended my a midwife who is not and MCU approved preceptor.

    1. You are a student at a place that is extremely shady. Did you know that they would not tell me about the grievance process until I started a petition to have them investigate this birth center? They pretended that it didn’t exist until I publicized their lack of action. I absolutely blame MCU for making the grievance process inaccessible to women who need it.

      If you had actually read my complaint you would know that the majority of my problem was with Suzanne Smith, the owner of Better Birth, and how she handled the problems caused by her employee. MCU refused to address those concerns, at all. Suzanne Smith sent me an email (which I published here) that indicates that her policy at Better Birth is to let midwives make choices on behalf of the patient (like when an exam will end or if you get to eat or not). She lied to the police about what is normal during a vaginal examination. She will not make this right for me. These are major problems that I brought to MCU’s attention and they ignored it, completely. I absolutely blame them for failing to actually address the majority of my complaint about the birth center.

      There was a student there every time I had an appointment with Ester, and the majority of my appointments were with Ester. More than one person who has contacted me privately to complain about ester said that a student delivered their baby. Am I really to believe that they weren’t getting any credit? really? MCU has never had a problem being completely dishonest when dealing with me. I am sort of doubtful at this point that they were even telling me the truth. Imagine how much trouble it would cause them, the sheer amount of effort and paperwork involved, if they had to remove credits they have given to women who had already graduated as midwives.

      Another thing you need to understand is that better birth charges midwifery students for training there, so if they are training with someone they can’t get credit with then what the hell are they paying for? No where on their ‘better birth university’ page does it mention that they might be training under someone that isn’t even approved to oversee them.

  2. Are all of the students who pay for training at Better Birth MCU students?

    1. Its the only accredited midwifery school in the state. It seems likely that the vast majority are MCU students.

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