Meeting was fantastic, disappointing
September 13, 2002
Kudos to the hospital board for doing the right thing. The board did an amazing job of listening to the huge numbers of people who wanted to be heard on both sides of the nurse-midwife issue.
They showed how much they care about our community and how unbiased they can be in making decisions about patient care, even given the pressure they must have felt from the doctors.
Although the outcome was fantastic, there were some disappointing moments at the meeting. It was extremely disheartening to hear the obvious efforts by one physician to put the nurse-midwives out of business by refusing to supervise them (and suggesting that they be forced to spend $30,000 a month as a result), while making noises about the ?continuity of patient care.?
If he was really concerned about the continuity of patient care, he would not allow them to be in the position they could now be in of being barred from delivering babies at the hospital until they find a new doctor.
It?s so discouraging that someone who should be concerned first about patients and their care would try to prevent pregnant women from being able to have their babies delivered by the professionals of their choosing ? the people who have taken them through their pregnancies and who they expected to deliver their babies.
It was also distressing that another doctor, while talking about how bad it would be for the community to have part-time physicians ?cherry picking? patients from the full-time doctors, announced that he will do it himself if the nurse-midwives are allowed to get another doctor.
Recommended Stories For You
It is unbelievable that two people in our community who are supposed to take care of patients would choose to do things that are so obviously bad for patients.
It was troubling that Dr. Pevny disregarded the board?s ?ground rules? of not speaking ill of anyone?s integrity, and made digs at the nurse-midwives for not going through with mediation. (Although a former hospital board member addressed the issue very well, and explained that in some cases mediation is not the answer.)
I was disappointed that the ?ground rules? didn?t apply to Dr. Pevny or to the woman who wanted to blame the nurse-midwives for not finding her breast cancer that even a mammogram and medical doctors didn?t detect.
I was also confused by one board member?s continued attempts to provoke the nurse-midwives to publicly state what their issues are with Dr. Bruice. Whatever their reasons, there is no need for them to air them publicly and possibly tarnish Dr. Bruice?s reputation.
And I was disappointed that a naturopathic doctor?s credentials were dismissed as ?herbs and spices.? He might not be a medical doctor, but neither is Phyllis Bronson, and she wasn?t disparaged for having a doctorate instead of a medical degree.
It was further disappointing that two of the board members felt the need to apologize to the doctors for making the decision they made. They obviously felt they made the right decision; why should they apologize to anyone ? least of all to doctors ? for doing what is right for patients in the community?
I was dismayed that at least one board member seemed to think the fact that some patients refer to the nurse-midwives as ?physicians? or ?doctors? implied some kind of ?practicing outside their scope of expertise.? Patients don?t have a good single word for what a nurse-midwife is, and some people apparently don?t realize that the word ?physician? is reserved for a medical doctor.
However, that board member doesn?t seem to recognize that the word ?doctor? is not reserved for a medical doctor. A doctor is also ?a teacher, or somebody very knowledgeable? and ?somebody who is good at doing something.?
So, if any patient called a nurse-midwife a ?doctor? to her face, that patient would be corrected; if patients choose to refer to nurse-midwives as ?doctors,? they are well within their rights.
In any case, the overall tone of the meeting was very fair. Most people who had an opinion did a good job of keeping whatever negative feelings they might have to themselves.
Dr. Nagel was honest enough to speak highly of the nurse-midwives, and to say that she would like to continue working with them. It would be wonderful if she could be their temporary supervising physician, although I highly doubt that her employer will allow it, given his comments.
But who knows? Maybe he will take this opportunity to show the community that continuity of patient care really is important to him (and not just for patients who pay him). It would be a very generous and incredibly ethical act.
Our community is very lucky to have the caring, committed hospital Board that we elected. It was a very difficult decision (someone at the board meeting said it was ?Solomon-like?).
But with this complicated issue they have proven to be open to community input and willing to look at more than just proposals from doctors who might not be able to see the whole picture.
We are very lucky to have the wonderful doctors (of all kinds) that we have in our community and hospital, and we should all be very thankful for our board. No one and nothing is perfect, but we have something as close as we might ever get in our hospital board.