Kate Macdonald and son Roy Ingacio, whom they call 'Nacho'.

The Reproductive Justice Story Project is listening

Share

The Reproductive Justice Story Project was started by Kate Macdonald following a rough experience giving birth in Toronto’s St. Joseph’s Health Centre.

“I had full-blown post-partum PTSD, I felt totally violated, and it really, really took a toll on me in the first year with my baby when I was supposed to be focusing on other things.” Kate recalls.

Listen

Delivering a baby can be a terrifying experience even with the best of care and support. But for a first time mother who is not being well-cared for, or doesn’t feel well -cared for, it’s all the more difficult.

“So I know there are lots of us out there, dealing with similar feelings and not really having an outlet for them,” Macdonald said.

 “No one is taking me seriously” 

Her web site is currently collecting stories in an effort to document the problems, and what Macdonald describes as “obstetric violence”.

Kate Macdonald says for those women who are not having very positive experiences, there are a lot of common themes:

“So consent is a big one”, she says. “During birth, doctors and nurses not feeling like they need to ask, or they need to listen when a birthing person is telling them to stop, or slow down or saying no.”

And filing complaints is afterwards is not easy.

“It’s really, really hard to get it together to provide feedback and be advocating for yourself, especially if you’re home with a little one.”

Kate Macdonald says that for those who have registered their feedback or complaints, “almost all of it is kind of dismissed or ignored or it doesn’t really go anywhere.”

That’s why she is “asking people who have a story to share about disrespectful, or disempowering, abusive care that they’ve received during pregnancy, or during child birth, or even afterwards,” to share their story; document the experience.

“We want to get as much proof of the kind of issue as possible,” Macdonald says.

“I think it’s all about patient-centred care” 

When asked how she would respond to a healthcare worker who might defend some actions on the grounds of a sudden emergency that leaves just moments for decisions to be made altering how a baby’s delivery might take place.

Macdonald doesn’t buy it

“I think that’s a great excuse that gets tossed around often, but emergencies like that don’t happen with every birth and, you know, taking the time to make the birthing person feel like they are safe and respected and part of whatever steps need to happen, is a way to make, even a really scary emergency situation feel less awful.”

“I think it’s all about patient-centred care” she says, adding that “if hospital staff don’t want to hear it, then we’ll just have to speak up louder”.

Sadly there was a tragic case last month near Toronto when doing just that might have saved a young mother’s life.

Ayesha Riaz, 24, had just delivered a healthy baby boy, so quickly in fact his father arrived just after the birth on February 7th, 2018.

In an interview with Shanifa Nasser of CBC Toronto, Ahmad Saleem said his wife was in pain a day after the birth, and could not get anyone to take it seriously.

She complained of a “pain in her tailbone, then stiffness in her stomach”. The following day she told nurses the room was getting too hot.

Saleem said she was reassured each time that she would be OK, and one nurse suggesting she try breathing exercises and taking a walk.

“I laid down next to her, and she was burning hot,” Saleem told Nasser. “No one is taking me seriously,” he remembers Riaz telling him.  

Ahmad Saleem’s son, Eesa, is five weeks old now. It’s a reason for celebration, but without his wife, Saleem is struggling. (Garry Asselstine/CBC)

Early on February 10th, a doctor came in when Ayesha’s heart rate had increased, and said something was wrong.

Ayesha Riaz was then moved to the intensive care unit, where she was treated for a case of Group A strep (GAS).

“I want to go home, I don’t want to be here,” Riaz implored Saleem as he tried to reassure her.

Around 4 p.m., the doctor wanted to insert a tube to help Riaz breathe as she feared she might go into septic shock.

As they began putting her on life support, Saleem said he held Riaz’s hand.

When he went out of the room to tell Riaz’s family, a nurse came running out to get him.

The staff were performing CPR and he joined in the effort.

“I was crying, holding her hand, telling her, ‘Please wake up, please wake up,’ until they eventually pulled me off and said, ‘She’s not coming back.'”

Ayesha Riaz’s death was ruled to be the result of septic shock, Saleem said.

Markham Stouffville Hospital, where this took place, then launched an internal investigation after it identified a suspected case of the infection. 

The hospital would not comment on Riaz’s case, but did confirm three cases of Group A strep in its childbirth unit in February, and that one mother did die from a severe form of the infection. 

Two other women recovered and were released.

“I would like to see a big conversation started about birth trauma and obstetric violence and any kind of care that isn’t meeting the needs of people receiving it.” Kate Macdonald says.

“And I want there to be changes from the top, so policy changes, but also changes to the culture of individual birthing centres in hospitals all across the province.” she says.

When contacted the hospital referred to a statement on their web site from president and CEO Jo-anne Marr:

“The hospital recently had three patients with Group A Strep on our Childbirth Unit. The majority of Group A Strep cases are spread through the community as the bacteria is highly contagious.

As soon as there were indications of an issue on the patient care unit, our team immediately took action and worked closely with Public Health and Dr. Allison McGeer, a recognized leader in the field of infection control from Mount Sinai, to manage all aspects of the outbreak. We instituted enhanced cleaning measures and restricted visitors to the unit.”

But the question remains, why did one of those women die?

www.facebook.com/TheReproductiveJusticeStoryProject
www.twitter.com/ReproJusticeSP
www.instagram.com/ReproJusticeSP

(With files from CBC Toronto)

“We want to get as much proof of the kind of issue as possible. Macdonald says.”

Share
Posted in Health, Immigration & Refugees, International, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*