midwives college of utah dishonesty (AGAIN)

So, as many of you know, I attempted to report Better Birth of Utah to the Midwives College of Utah because I was concerned about the pattern of negligence that I discovered after being mistreated there. I found a string of women who had problems, doulas who wouldn’t rate the place nicely, ex students bad mouthing the place on Yelp! etc etc. Pretty serious problems, right? The college only made a note of the problem and refused to do anything else about the fact that midwifery students are learning from people who have been complicit in chronic negligent and refuse to take responsibility for it.

I also tried to contact the school after Better Birth broke its contract with several ex-clients by declaring that the multiple negative reviews are from people with mental illnesses that prevent them from perceiving labor ‘correctly’ (whatever the fuck that means). They say in their contract that they will keep your information in the utmost confidence, and will only share it as required by law. It isn’t relevant that the information they shared is incorrect (to the best of my knowledge, I don’t know the mental health status of anyone else who complained)- in their mind they believe it to be correct, and are totally comfortable sharing it with the world despite having promised not to.

I emailed the clinical dean about this flagrant violation of the privacy of ex clients. No response. Midwives aren’t bound by HIPAA, and I didn’t expect much of a response because MCU wasn’t up front with me about a grievance process existing at all. I also know that the owner of better birth, Suzanne Smith, used to teach at MCU and so they are probably hesitant to do anything in response to their behavior. Midwives choose each other over patients and clients, consistently.

So when I looked at the MCU newsletter for winter 2013, I was surprised to see this bit of information,:

. We further expect that clinical field faculty (preceptors) and
sites approved by Midwives College of Utah will be accountable, honest and demonstrate
the utmost respect for all clients, student midwives and practicing midwives, in accordance
with the Midwives Model of Care, which is and has always been the standard we set for midwifery education.
Transparency, cultural appropriateness and primacy of client care are expected of all clinical sites, regardless of location.

We reserve the right to revoke approval of a clinical site or preceptor at any time if they are found to be practicing
outside the Midwives Model of Care, or showing disrespect for a client, student or midwife’s culture, color, religion,
education, socioeconomic status, or other difference.

I asked multiple members of the MCU staff directly about what outcomes could be expected from the grievance process. I was never informed that approval of a clinical site can be revoked. As the person filing the grievance, didn’t I deserve to know? Why do I have to dig in a news letter to learn that a lot more could have been done than was actually done? MCU made it seem like since the midwife that mistreated me wasn’t a preceptor their hands were tied and they could not do anything. They also acted like they were not in a position to judge the behavior of the owner of the business in response to the complaints I shared. Which is it, MCU? Are you expecting accountability and honesty from clinical sites, or not?

I don’t think that calling past clients mentally ill, on a public webpage, and ignoring reports of sexual misconduct is demonstrative of “the utmost respect for all clients”.Lying in court is the opposite of “honest”. Forced vaginal exams are the opposite of what the midwifery model of care is supposed to stand for, but Better Birth testified under oath that it is standard care (I will be uploading the audio recording of this soon). Better Birth has never been held accountable for the damage they cause in people’s lives. The pattern is negligence, followed by ignoring the complaint, and if the client cares enough to bother them further then they are blamed for the problem or told it never happened. There is extensive documentation of these problems, and the school refuses to hold them accountable as a clinical location for students. To the best of my knowledge, no one who has complained to Better Birth has even gotten an apology or a promise to improve practices. Its absolutely ridiculous.

The first time I contacted MCU about these problems I did not get a real response (such as information about filing a grievance) until I petitioned them. So I guess I will have to do that again. Here is the petition to revoke Better Birth’s status as an MCU clinical site. If you are a midwife and dislike that I have characterized your profession negatively, then prove me wrong. Do something about problems in the community. Don’t accept sites like Better Birth as an acceptable place for students to learn the midwifery model of care. 

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on Safer Midwifery in Utah and commented:

    The way that a community responds to chronic problems is the measure of its integrity. So far I have not been impressed by the response of the Utah Natural Birth community to the chronic problems with Better Birth of Utah. Sign the petition to revoke this place as a clinical site for MCU. https://www.change.org/petitions/midwives-college-of-utah-revoke-better-birth-s-privilege-as-a-clinical-site-for-midwifery-students#

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