Working with medical centers and doctors
Because of these challenges, it is important to build a relationship with medical
centers and doctors before an emergency happens. This way, when you need help,
you are more likely to be treated with respect. Try talking to just one doctor who
seems to understand how important midwives are. Talk about the ways you would
like to work with the hospital. If possible, a meeting between a group of midwives
and a group of doctors can help everyone work together.
When midwives and hospitals work together, everyone benefits. If midwives
refer women at risk more quickly, doctors can do more to prevent problems. And a
midwife who is treated with respect will more readily bring a woman to the
hospital. Here is a true story:
A midwife who would not give up
Neusa, a tiny farmwoman, is a health worker in Brazil. Laura, one of Neusa’s
patients, had been pregnant 3 times before but had lost each baby because
of high blood pressure followed by convulsions during the last month of
her pregnancy. Laura was a sad woman, quiet and resigned to her fate of
never having children. Neusa talked with Laura about her health, and gave
her vitamins and encouragement about her pregnancy, care she had never
received before. Laura looked forward to Neusa’s visits. One day in her 8th
month, Laura woke up with a terrible headache and swollen legs. Laura had
no mirror in her hut to see her face, but when Neusa arrived, she was
shocked to see how swollen Laura’s face was. Neusa knew that without help,
Laura would once more lose her baby and possibly her own life!
Since it was the week before Christmas, the hospital had only a few
doctors and nurses working. They did not want to take more patients, so
they gave Laura an injection and told her to go home and wait until her
baby was ready to be born. Neusa would not accept this and went to the
hospital director’s office to explain Laura’s situation and past problems. But
even after seeing her badge and hearing that she was a health
worker, he told her there was “no room at the inn” and that
Neusa must take Laura home and wait.
But Neusa would not give up. She knew that
Laura’s condition was too dangerous to return
home. Instead, she took Laura to the police station.
There Neusa made a ruckus. She may be a tiny
woman, but she has a voice and a gleam in her eye
that is unforgettable. When she is “in battle,” she is not easily ignored!
Finally, a police car took Neusa and Laura to a hospital an hour away
from Neusa’s village. By the time they arrived, Laura’s blood pressure was
very high, so the doctors did a cesarean and Laura gave birth to a healthy
baby boy. Neusa’s health knowledge, determination, and love for her work
saved this baby’s life — and perhaps his mother’s too!
A Book for Midwives (2010)