To the editor:
I am saddened to say that my third child will not be born in the city of Lawrence. My child will come home to Lawrence from the hospital, but will not be born in our community-owned hospital, Lawrence Memorial. My wife and I will have to travel to either Shawnee Mission or to Topeka.
Lawrence Memorial will not extend birthing privileges to state-licensed, nurse practitioner midwives. Not even our own chosen nurse practitioner, who will graduate from the midwife program at KU Med prior to our child's birth and who already has privileges as a nurse practitioner at the hospital. A reader to this newspaper would think after this Sunday's (5/20/01) article, "A Labor of Love" concerning the Heartland Doulas, that Lawrence Memorial was progressively pursuing new avenues in providing the best service in child birthing.
The hospital certainly has spent a significant amount of money in updating the maternity ward. It puts its best foot forward for public relations. It has a pretty web site. But in this matter, the community finds its hospital lagging behind its neighbors to the east and the west.
My wife's and my attempts to talk to the hospital's administrative staff have not been successful. They are not available for phone calls from the community on this issue. A call to the maternity ward is only successful in confirming that no nurse practitioner-midwives have been extended birthing privileges, nor will any be in the foreseeable future.
I am left wondering - does our community hospital not trust the State Board of Nursing, the body who licenses and regulates nurse-midwives? Or is it the KU School of Medicine they deem inadequate? Or is it the individual, did they make a mistake in extending privileges as a nurse practitioner to this person? Are some of the physicians who must vote to extend these privileges simply protecting their turf? I would expect the administration of our city-owned, community hospital to be available to answer these questions.
Lawrence Memorial has provided professional, high quality care to my family on previous occasions, for which I am grateful. I ask the citizens of this community to inquire as to why, on this issue, our hospital tells us that we must leave the community to have our care provided by the practitioner we choose for this most intimate of experiences?