Letter to the Editor: Call to improve northern obstetrics

Dear Editor:

As a teacher, musician and now parent, I am saddened, disappointed and completely frustrated with provincial health minister Cameron Friesen. I left Ontario to teach in your wonderful province and have made Flin Flon my home for almost 10 years. I’ve lived in many cities including Owen Sound, Guelph, and Toronto, Ont. I chose to stay in Flin Flon for its wonderful people, thriving artistic community and safe place for my future children.

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Well, my first child is now here. My water broke in Flin Flon at 28 weeks this past September and I was taken care of by the best obstetrician and nurse team at the Flin Flon hospital. I was airlifted and given wonderful care by each medical staff that read my chart. I was sent to HSC and was told that the medical staff in Flin Flon did an amazing work up on me. I had care in Flin Flon that changed the course of my child’s life. Because of the timely manner in which I was taken care of, the medications I was given and the comprehensive information I received, the team in Winnipeg had a head start. My child can breathe unassisted because of that head start.

I spend every day in the NICU learning how to feed my daughter. I am terrified to think that she won’t have the best care possible in the town that I love.

It should not have been a “fluke” or “good luck” that there happened to be an obstetrician on staff the day my water broke. I settled for having a rotating doctor throughout my whole pregnancy. I settled for not having regular birth classes offered to me. I settled for not having the choice of a midwife. I’ve settled for years not having a family doctor. I will not settle anymore. My daughter shouldn’t have to settle.

You are a father and I know you would do anything for your children. I understand how that works now. Do something. This cannot be the new normal. Flin Flon is a resilient community and we will not be ignored. The future of our community needs these medical services now. Let’s make it a reality.

Open letter to Helga Bryant, Northern Health Region CEO:

Previous research has suggested that when changes to a woman’s birth plan are necessary, it is the amount of control that the woman maintains over these changes that is important to sustaining a positive birth experience (Hardin & Buckner, 2004; Hauck et al., 2007). In a study, two key factors were related to the impact of changes to the birth plan on the women’s childbirth experiences: (a) the degree of change that took place and (b) the amount of control the birthing woman had over the changes as they occurred.

What choice or control are the women of our community privy to when they are given exceptionally short notice of suspension of services not to mention at a terrible time of year to travel on northern roads? Our choice and control have been extinguished without a concrete plan. The attitude seems to be “We’ll fix it later.”

This is incredibly stressful. The maternal stress that this is creating for our community is only going to lead to poorer outcomes and burden our health care system further. We should be growing our Northern health care support system, not dismantling it.

You claim to be “an expert, passionate healthcare leader, who creates innovative solutions and is able to develop teams that are loyal and committed to the mandate and goals of their organizations.” Well, we need that creativity now.

You told us that you want to “reduce the impact of this decision on our citizens”, so what can these expectant mothers hope to gain after losing a critical part of their birth plan? Not knowing where I was going to give birth was absolutely the most stressful part of my pregnancy. That should be the least of any woman’s worries when they are about to bring a life into the world.

Noelle Drimmie

Flin Flon, Man.

© Copyright 2018 Flin Flon Reminder

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