Letters to the editor May 2

Mon Health needs to
restore midwife position
The U.S. is in a maternal mortality crisis, and by firing  its sole midwife, Mon Health just made it more dangerous for West Virginia women to give birth.
This feels personal for me, because I have a 7-month-old son, and I feel thankful that he’s here and healthy, and that I am too, because our story could have had a different ending.
The person who’s the hero of our story was my midwife at Mon Health, Gail Rock. She was amazing. During my pregnancy, she was available by text to answer any question at any time. She stayed with us during nearly my whole labor, helping me find positions that would turn my son and ease labor. This sort of support is rare if not unheard-of-from an OB-GYN. And after my son was born, I had a serious hemorrhage, losing half of the blood in my body; Rock set up transfusions before my husband and I were even aware that I had been in danger.
I’ve never had as smart and caring a health provider as her. And we need more midwives like her, because in the United States right now, more and more women are dying from childbirth. At 18 deaths per 100,000 childbirths, we have a far higher rate of maternal mortality than other wealthy countries. In the past 20 years, the rate has more than doubled.
Some of the solutions are clear. One of them, according to numerous studies, is more midwives. And yet, Mon Health, just this past week,  fired its only midwife. Because it doesn’t employ midwives anymore, Gail was fired. The problem, from what I’ve heard, isn’t that she didn’t have enough patients, but the reverse. She had a lot of patients, but doctors can bill at higher rates.
Shame on Mon Health. Shame on its CEO, David S. Goldberg. The women of West Virginia deserve good health care. I call on Mon Health to reconsider this misguided and dangerous decision. I call on it to strengthen and expand its midwifery services. Unless Mon Health trusts midwives, I won’t trust Mon Health.
Johanna Winant

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