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Saturday, November 19, 2005For years, breastfeeding expert Dr. Jack Newman has served new mothers in the Toronto area by directing a highly-respected breastfeeding clinic at North York General Hospital. Unfortunately, the hospital board has decided to close the clinic because they are running out of space for other programs. The hospital claims that they can no longer afford to give space to a program that does not directly involve hospital staff.
Dr. Newman has been a practicing pediatrician since 1970. He established the first hospital-based breastfeeding clinic in 1984 at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. The current clinic in North York serves about 1000 breastfeeding mothers a year. The hospital plans to replace the program, which serves only about 5% of mothers who give birth at North York General each year, with a full-time lactation consultant. Newman claims that a lactation consultant and hospital nursing staff will be unable to offer the support that new mothers need, citing a lack of proper training on issues related to breastfeeding.
While it's true that Newman could open up his clinic in another location, Newman claims that the real issue is that once his clinic is relocated, medical students at the hospital will lose access to the learning that comes with working with and observing Newman's work.
From an article in the Globe and Mail:
But relocating to a private clinic, Dr. Newman said, means medical students will miss out on the training he currently provides. Additionally, a planned research project will go "down the tubes.
"It's a real shame that we can't do that in the hospital, where we can help train students that come through.
"I've been a thorn in the side of many people for many years because I've been outspoken about how poorly we help mothers," he said, referring to what he feels is a lack of support for his work among public health officials.
Newman's book, "The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers : The Most Comprehensive Problem-Solution Guide to Breastfeeding from the Foremost Expert in North America" is available at Amazon.com. For more information on the efforts to save the clinics, you can view the action alert on the INFACT Canada site. To register your support, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can sign the online petition.