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Masonic's Midwives Aren't Going Anywhere

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Dear editor:

I am writing to correct two huge errors published in your letters column November 7, 2003.

In a letter about midwifery, Michelle Breen of Chicago Community Midwives wrote that "Illinois Masonic has announced the closing of its hospital-based alternative birthing center." This statement is completely false. Advocate Illinois Masonic's Alternative Birth Center (ABC) offers low-risk pregnant women a comfortable homelike setting to experience natural, noninvasive childbirth. This type of unit requires a separate staff of nurses trained to attend women in this environment. There is a shortage of nurses nationwide, and our staffing for the ABC has been our biggest challenge. Hospital administration and the obstetrics department at Illinois Masonic are certain that the ABC will continue and even be improved in the future. The ABC is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month.

Compounding this unfortunate error, the headline over the letter leaped from Ms. Breen's misinformation to the conclusion that "Masonic's Midwives Are Out Too." Nothing could be further from the truth. Advocate Illinois Masonic's Nurse-Midwifery Service is the second oldest service in Chicago and one of the most successful in the city. Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center Nurse-Midwifery Service has received the 2003 American College of Nurse-Midwives "With Women, for a Lifetime Golden Commendation." We have ten certified nurse-midwives on staff. We perform 550-plus outpatient visits per month. We attend 30-40 women per month during childbirth. These births take place both in our labor and delivery unit as well as in the ABC. Even if the ABC were to close, as so alleged, our practice would NOT be affected.

Michelle Breen and the Reader both owe an apology to us, to readers, and especially to women who may have been alarmed to read that their health-care providers are somehow going away. We are not going anywhere. We will continue to provide safe, compassionate, comprehensive obstetrical and gynecological services to low-risk women. "Every Woman Deserves a Midwife."

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this error.

Sandie Mulcrone CNM, MS

Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

Supervisor, Nurse-Midwifery Service

The editors reply:

Guilty as charged. We did not check Breen's assertion that the facility was closing, and our headline did indeed leap to a false conclusion. Sincere apologies to all.

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