A Comox Valley midwife whose application for privileges at St. Joseph’s General Hospital was recently rejected is not giving up without a fight.
Katie McNiven Gladman is a registered midwife practicing in the Comox Valley via Plum Midwifery. She recently applied for long-term locum privileges at St. Joseph’s — which are designed to provide relief to medical professionals like physicians, dentists or midwives who have active privileges at a hospital. After St. Joseph’s rejected her application, she decided to appeal to the Hospital Appeal Board of B.C.
Because of her appeal, McNiven Gladman says she cannot legally comment on the matter. But a group of her supporters set up a petition urging the hospital to reconsider on www.change.org, which had over 1,000 signatures as of Wednesday.
As well, a public rally in support of McNiven Gladman is planned at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the northwest corner of the hospital grounds.
Comox Valley resident Pamela Tessmann plans to attend the Friday morning rally as she is 33 weeks pregnant and McNiven Gladman is one the midwives she sees at Plum Midwifery.
“She is resourceful, knowledgable, patient, professional, and someone I can trust fully with mine and my babies’ lives,” says Tessmann, who has already had one home-birth using a midwife. Though a midwife doesn’t need hospital privileges to deliver a baby at home she says it’s important to her that a midwife have those privileges.
“I am planning a home-birth (again), however, if something were to go wrong and we needed to transfer to the hospital then Katie wouldn’t be able to come with me if she was my primary caregiver throughout my labour.
“So, that would really disrupt the whole process of my labour and I would like to see her see me through it from start to finish if she were my caregiver at the time.”
According to McNiven Gladman’s website www.katiethemidwife.com, she previously held long-term locum privileges at St. Joseph’s, and gave them up voluntarily when she left the Valley to work in Vancouver for four months.
St. Joseph’s president and CEO Jane Murphy says she cannot comment on McNiven Gladman’s application in particular, but she notes St. Joseph’s has four midwives who hold active privileges and and three who hold locum privileges.
“We have a very active midwifery program here as part of our maternity services that we are highly supportive of,” says Murphy, adding, according to the hospital’s medical manpower plan, St. Joseph’s has enough midwives with privileges at the hospital relative to the need for maternity services.
The College of Midwives of B.C., which regulates the profession of midwifery in B.C., says McNiven Gladman is a midwife in good standing.
The petition on www.change.org calls the reason for the application rejection unclear and subjective, noting the term “lack of collegiality.”
Though Murphy reiterated that she would not speak about McNiven Gladman’s case, she says collegiality points to the inter-relationships staff have with each other at the hospital.
“We do have medical staff bylaws that outline our privileging and credentialing criteria, and the bylaws speak to, (the need to) demonstrate the ability to communicate and work with colleagues and staff in a co-operative and professional manner,” Murphy said.
“Working in a hospital is so much in regards to working as a team that I would say, all hospitals as well as St. Joe’s, really value the ability of any practitioner to develop and maintain very good interpersonal relationships with all members of the team.”
According to Murphy, St. Joseph’s has three full-time obstetricians positions, and seven family practitioners with maternity privileges.
According to McNiven Gladman’s website, midwives attend about 200 births per year in the Valley. Tessman notes Valley midwives seem busy.
“They have a lot of clients, and they have a lot of clients that would like to use the hospital — and they deserve to have that choice,” she says.