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Ambulance service confirms Quadra birthing issue

The BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) has confirmed that it “flagged” a difficult home birth on Quadra Island during which a local woman was doing the work of a midwife.

Last week, the Mirror revealed that the BC College of Midwives is conducting an investigation into a Quadra woman, Moreka Jolar, who has allegedly been illegally doing the work of a midwife while claiming to be “a traditional birth attendant.”

BCAS spokesperson Kelsie Carwithen says: “We can confirm that a patient safety concern was recently flagged for the College of Midwives. BCAS has an internal patient safety reporting procedure in place for paramedics to report these concerns.  Incidents of concern are reported to a supervisor and the Patient Care Quality Office for follow up.

“This case was reported due to the perceived patient safety issues surrounding the scope of care provided under the jurisdiction of the College.”

College Registrar Jane Kilthei says Jolar has been on the College’s radar since 1998 and became an issue again this summer for her role in the August birth of Morgan Stewart-Webb. Responding to a 911 call Aug. 15 paramedics went to the Quadra home of Noah Webb, 25, a volunteer fire fighter, and Amanda Stewart, 28, who had gone into labour early and had given birth in the couple’s backyard wading pool. The paramedics were troubled by what they encountered.

The College alleges Jolar “provided midwifery care to a woman and her newborn in Quathiaski Cove on Quadra Island including managing this woman’s labour and delivery on her own responsibility.”

The College also alleges that Jolar represented herself as qualified to act as primary care provider at this woman’s birth. “She is an illegal practitioner and we have grave concerns about her continuing to practise and put mothers and babies at risk.”

The Health Professions Act defines restricted activities and amongst them are managing labour and delivering a newborn. Only physicians, nurses in hospitals and registered widwives are permitted to perform these procedures. The College claims that Jolar is leaving herself open to a $2,000 fine and/or six months in jail. The College wants Jolar to confirm in writing by Nov. 19 that she is “not practicing midwifery” and has ceased to offer her services “to attend births in the role of primary care provider for a fee or otherwise in B.C.”

Under Section 52 of the Health Professions Act the College has the authority to commence a prosecution and to seek an injunction to restrain Jolar’s activities. The Mirror could not reach Jolar for comment.

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