There is a very serious move to close the North Shore Birth Center, a midwifery practice situated on the campus of Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Massachusetts.
On Tuesday, November 18, 2008, the Board of Trustees of the Northeast Health Corporation considered the proposal to close the Birth Center. During that early-morning meeting, nearly 200 people, adults, children, and babies bundled up against the cold and held a rally. This rally advocated for the same things as previous efforts, which included a letter-writing campaign, daily picketing, and an open letter to the Board:
Featuring energetic speakers, colorful signs, and lots of cheering, the rally outside of Beverly Hospital made headlines: All the major Boston television stations, newspapers, and radio stations covered the story.
However, we are not out of the woods yet. As the Boston Globe points out, this statement "ma[kes] it clear that the center's future is still very much in question." We still need your help!
Help us save NSBC!
The members of this group are against this proposal and want the Board of Trustees to vote against it. Women deserve to choose the birth experience that is right for them and their families. We ask the Board of Trustees to refrain from making a decision that would deny this choice to families of the North Shore.
NSBC is one of only two birth centers left in the entire state of Massachusetts! Let's work together to protect it!
Wednesday, November 13, 2008
An Open Letter to the Board of Trustees of the Northeast Health Corporation
One week ago today, on November 5, we first heard the news that the North Shore Birth Center (NSBC) on the campus of Beverly Hospital might close its doors to women planning to labor and give birth in the birth center. Having given birth to 6,503 children there in the past 28 years, families from the region were stunned and heartbroken.
In the past week, a truly grassroots movement has mobilized around these concerns, driven by the passion the community feels for its birth center. Literally hundreds of people are involved.
At an emergency community meeting held on Sunday, November 10, we%u2014the undersigned%u2014agreed to serve as a steering committee for the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center and speak with hospital representatives about this case. Unfortunately, our request for a meeting with the Board of Trustees prior to November 18, when this issue may be voted upon, has been dismissed. Therefore, we write you this letter.
Why We Care
It is in the best interests of families in the region for NSBC to remain available as a choice. This is a serious public health issue. The underpinnings of our rationale are as follows:
The World Health Organization has stated that a c-section rate of 15% is acceptable (see Dennis Thompson, %u201CSoaring C-section Rate Troubles Doctors,%u201D The Washington Post, July 13, 2007. Unfortunately, the rate of cesarean sections at Beverly Hospital is 32.4% (source: the Massachusetts Department of Health).
In contrast, the North Shore Birth Center%u2019s non-interventionist philosophy makes it a safe place for women to give birth without risk of unnecessary interventions. These are the 2007 c-section rates for their patients:
The North Shore Birth Center deserves applause for providing demonstrably superior quality of care. Families from our community must continue to be afforded this safe, healthy option.
For these reasons and more, we demand that the North Shore Birth Center continue its full range of operations. Before you make your final decision, we urge you to postpone the vote that may occur on November 18, especially given the following factors:
Furthermore, we urge you to agree to a meeting with delegates from the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center.
We also urge you to accept the offer of the American Association of Birth Centers, which is willing to advise and, if necessary, mediate this issue.
The Birth Center is a vital community resource and treasure. When you do finally vote on the proposal that is being put before you, please%u2014cast your vote with the community. But until then, please take actions to demonstrate your commitment to the community: Postpone the vote, schedule a meeting with us, and give this important decision the full deliberation that it deserves.
Rebecca Hains, Cathleen Barstow, Jennie Cudmore, Amy Kreydin, and Sarah Shamel
The Steering Committee of the Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center