Opinion

We report all sides of a story – good or bad | Editorial

The Reporter published a story last week regarding a new midwifery group that has emerged at EvergreenHealth.

The story introduced the new EvergreenHealth Midwifery Care, which has four midwives who provide 24/7 midwifery care to EvergreenHealth patients. Unfortunately, the article contained several errors (please see our corrections on page 3).

The Center for Women’s Health at Evergreen (CFWH), a private practice that offered a full-service midwifery option for prenatal care and delivery, made drastic cuts to its midwifery program last year.

The clinic’s decision to cut midwifery services was precipitated by an embezzlement scheme that caused CFWH officials to do an extensive audit. However, contrary to what we reported in our Oct. 12 story, the financial impact of the embezzlement did not impact the midwives directly.

In response, a group of families, mothers and midwives outraged by the drastic cuts rallied in front of the Evergreen Family Maternity Center in November 2011. The group ultimately collaborated with EvergreenHealth administration to create the new EvergreenHealth Midwifery Care.

We are glad that all involved worked together to establish a new midwifery program that will continue to offer around-the-clock midwifery care to patients.

But CFWH is still a thriving practice, not as reported in the story. Its doors have remained opened since its inception in 1997 and its six OB-GYN specialists continue to provide a high level of professional care to its patients.

We have received some backlash for publishing this story, mostly from hospital and CFWH administrators. Some of that criticism is just. We regret the erroneous information in the story and apologize.

But we were also stung by some of the criticism. This includes a letter rom the owner of the Center for Women’s Health at Evergreen, Karen Wells.

While we applaud Wells for exercising her freedom of speech, some of the information in her letter is also inaccurate.

Wells claims that including the embezzlement scheme in our story on the opening of the new midwifery clinic was “a cheap, sensationalistic and unnecessary ploy by your reporter to spice up her story. It was a drag through the mud.”

We disagree. When the Reporter interviewed her for the initial story we published last year, Wells said it was the embezzlement that caused CFWH officials to do an extensive audit. Even though the embezzlement was not directly tied to the clinic’s decision to cut midwifery services, it still played a role. We reported on the embezzlement in a Nov. 9, 2011 story. As a diligent and thorough news organization, it is our responsibility to also report on the outcome of that case, which we did in last week’s story.

It’s unfortunate that the clinic was a victim of embezzlement. However, the embezzlement was part of the story when Wells herself divulged that information to the Reporter last year. It is still a part of that story now.

Wells accuses our newspaper of spinning this story negatively. Yet, she said we should have spun it positively. We do not spin stories – in either direction. We report all sides of a story. We report the truth.

We chose to report on EvergreenHealth’s new midwifery group because we understand that midwifery services are important to many in the community, including the hundreds of midwives, former CFWH patients and mothers who spoke out in support of those services last year.

We do not publish stories at the expense of accuracy just to provoke public interest. We care about the Kirkland community and the stories that are important to residents.

People make mistakes. That doesn’t make us bad at what we do.

In fact, the Reporter has a staff of accredited and award-winning journalists. We recently won seven awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers’ Association, including first place for best health or medical story on the coverage of this very issue - “Outraged families to rally for midwifery services at Evergreen.”

 

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