Kaiser Permanante, a large hospital chain, recently introduced a new nurse-midwifery program to their Hawaii hospital. The nurse-midwives work in a team with doctors where the midwives are assigned to women who are expected to have a normal, uncomplicated birth. The doctors are available should any unforeseen situation arise. So far, the birthing women love the new arrangement and the doctors are ‘ecstatic’. WOW! That’s just great! It’s just another example of how changes in approach and attitude can work wonders in the favor of birthing women, midwives and doctors. It didn’t hurt that the head of obstetrics at KP saw the integration of midwives as “a big dream I had from years ago.” He was partially trained by midwives while in residency, and midwives have been an integral part of the team at several hospitals he worked at.
This article is filled with good news. I love good news. Apparently there has been an ‘unexplainable’ drop in infant mortality rates in one certain county (Dane) in Illinois over the last 20 years and they are just scratching their heads even though all the ‘evidence’ as to why is sitting right there in front of them. DUH.
One huge issue in our country is the very high infant mortality rate among African American women due to premature deliveries. Nationwide for 2007, according to the latest federal data, infant mortality was 6 per 1,000 for whites and 13 for blacks-up to 20 per 1,000 in some areas. Dane county was hovering around 19 deaths per 1,000 births back in the early 1990’s. Now it is down to 5. “The steep decline, reaching parity with whites, is particularly intriguing, experts say, because obstetrical services for low-income women in the county have not changed that much.” according to the article.