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EDITORIAL: Northern Health’s ultrasound policy is appalling

Not allowing expectant fathers into ultrasound appointments needs to stop
Ultrasound image of a fetus at four months. (Jim Gathany/CDC, via Wikimedia Commons)

Thank goodness we don’t live in the bad old days when a mother’s partner was not allowed to be involved in her pre-natal care.

These days partners are not only welcome, they are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the pre-birthing process with good reason.

One 2004 Swedish study concluded: “as the ultrasound examination is perceived as a confirmation of a new life it is an extremely important milestone for both parents so the father should be encouraged to participate. It is an important and unique event for both women and men in their process toward becoming parents.”

In fact, researchers have also found partners who are involved in ultrasound procedures end up being more engaged parents after children are born.

As such, health professionals, clinics, hospitals and health authorities around the world welcome people into the ultrasound room.

Pretty much everywhere except in Northern B.C. A couple in Terrace, Lisa Seymour and her partner Christopher England, recently came forward and told us about him being refused entry to an ultrasound at Mills Memorial Hospital even with a note from the couple’s doctor.

It appears this isn’t really a widespread problem. We talked to a lot of people, and very few have had the same issue.

Nevertheless, Eryn Collins, a spokesperson for Northern Health, confirmed this is, in fact, the health authority’s policy. The health authority did not provide justification for the policy saying only that it is regularly reviewed to “align with professional practice standards.”

Thankfully, it appears most of the medical and technical staff ignore the directive — even England said he knows of other people who have been allowed — but it is appalling that it exists in the first place and is, at times, enforced.

Seymour and England want the policy changed.

So do we.

So should everyone; the calendar reads 2023, not 1953.

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About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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