WBEZ | birth certificates http://www.wbez.org/tags/birth-certificates Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Co-parenting the birth certificate http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2012-01-18/co-parenting-birth-certificate-95632 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-18/395835_10150717494471110_702006109_12141549_1288749971_n.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>“Resistance to giving me the birth certificate,” I texted my wife Tuesday from the brightly lit basement office of Cook County’s Office of Vital Records.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-18/395835_10150717494471110_702006109_12141549_1288749971_n.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 359px;" title="(WBEZ/Achy Obejas)"></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">I was there to pick up our son’s official papers, vital for a million real world things, like a passport.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Like they won’t give it to you?” she texted back.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Correct,” I texted.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">We’d heard a few stories of same sex couples getting the wrong info on their child’s birth certificate, but not about anyone having the document denied.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">And that wasn’t exactly what was happening. But there seemed to be a hitch in releasing the document to me.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">I’d arrived at the county offices, read a couple of chapters of a book while waiting in line, and had had a very conventional interaction until just before I’d texted my wife. I’d shown my identification (an Illinois license), and given my son’s name and birthdate to the clerk, who quickly found him on the computer rolls.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">We hadn’t been interacting more than a couple of minutes when he showed me the birth certificate and asked me to check it. Absolutely everything was in order.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Then he took it back and asked me to confirm my birth date. Except that he’d read my wife’s birthdate.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“No,” I said, “it’s June 28, 1956.”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">He looked at the certificate. “But you’re the mother, right?”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Yes,” I said, “let me show you.” I pulled the certificate closer to me and pointed to where it said “Father/Co-Parent.” I let my finger slide from my name to my birthdate.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Just a minute, please,” he said. He walked away, document in hand, to the far end of the counter and conferred with various fellow employees. They all craned their necks to look at me. The entire line of waiting people turned with them. There was a lot of staff shrugging and head shaking. One guy made an unhappy face.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">My wife texted, “Why?” As in, <em>Why aren’t they giving it to you? </em>Since the passage of<a href="http://%20https://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/06/01/illinois-civil-unions-go-into-effect-today/"> Illinois Civil Unions Law</a> last July 1, same sex parents have been allowed to put both their names on a child’s birth certificate.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“I’m now schooling them on law, nicely,” I texted my wife.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">And indeed, when the clerk came back I’d explained to him that here shouldn’t be an issue, that the certificate clearly stated inclusion with “father/co-parent.”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Oh, yes, I know the law,” he said. “We do a lot of civil unions here.” And he pointed to one end of the office, as if there was a chapel or special place down there.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Are they being dicks or just ignorant of the law?” my wife texted. “Ignorant,” I texted back.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Because it was clear to me that they knew about it but were unsure how to proceed. Could it possibly be as simple as just handing me the document, without having to do anything <em>special</em>? Could it be that, in the eyes of the law, my kid’s birth certificate and the straight couple’s next to me in line were exactly<em> the same</em>?</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">In the meantime, the certificate had been passed off to a second clerk, the one who’d made the face.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Is there a problem?” I asked him as he stood just behind the first clerk, staring at the certificate in his hand as if he was waiting for it to decode a secret message.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">He made the same face, a combination of skepticism and ick. “You the mother?” he asked.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Yes, the co-parent. All the information is correct.”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">He made the same face yet again. “Just a minute,” he said, and went to the opposite end of the counter to do additional conferring. He made a brief pit stop to flirt/help an attractive young woman on the way.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Once again, the office staff gathered around the certificate as if it were a missing leaf from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Lots of scrutiny, including turning it over a few times. A huddle. A ring of heads emerging and craning and looking over at me. The spotlight unnecesarily on me. Then a quick descent back to the huddle, and everyone separating, shrugging, shaking heads. The guy with my son’s certificate raised his eyebrows in mild incredulity.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">He came back to me with it. “It’s okay, I guess,” he said, and shrugged.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">By this time, the first clerk was pretty embarrassed. He took the certificate and handed it to me. “I have three kids myself,” he said as he took my credit card for payment. “It’s important to enjoy them while you can. They grow up so fast.”</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Some faster than others but, yes, in the end, we all grow up.</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Got it,” I texted my wife, and went off to do the rest of my errands.</span></p></p> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 20:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2012-01-18/co-parenting-birth-certificate-95632 After WBEZ report, hospital steps up breastfeeding efforts http://www.wbez.org/story/after-wbez-report-hospital-steps-breastfeeding-efforts-90006 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-02/HolyCrossHospital.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Southwest Side hospital with the Chicago area’s lowest newborn breastfeeding rate is trying to step up its game. Holy Cross has become the first Chicago hospital to register in a United Nations program called the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.</p><p>Holy Cross opened a new maternity ward in February 2010. A year later, however, less than 7&nbsp;percent of the ward’s 263 newborns had breastfed there, according to Illinois birth-certificate data.<br> <br> A May <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/regulators-let-breast-milk-compete-formula-hospitals-86129">report by WBEZ</a> about Holy Cross’s breastfeeding performance made improvement a priority, says Anna Carvalho, the hospital’s vice president of strategic planning and business development. “Your [report] put it front-and-center for us,” she says.<br> <br> To achieve the Baby Friendly designation, Holy Cross is planning to tap federal help for staff training. “A safety-net hospital like this is scrambling for every opportunity,” Carvalho says. “So this one was a no-brainer.”<br> <br> Carvalho points out that many Holy Cross maternity-ward patients did not receive prenatal care. “We’re trying to figure out ways to work with the community so that the first conversation about breastfeeding isn’t happening at the time of delivery but is happening in advance,” she says.<br> <br> The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies get nothing but breast milk for their first six months to avoid health problems such as obesity and diabetes.<br> <br> But a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/Breastfeeding/index.html">report out Tuesday</a> says nearly 80&nbsp;percent of U.S. hospitals give babies formula when not medically necessary.</p></p> Tue, 02 Aug 2011 20:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/after-wbez-report-hospital-steps-breastfeeding-efforts-90006 Hospital regulators let baby formula vie with breast milk http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Vanessa3.JPG" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 266px; height: 199px;" title="Lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes says Cook County’s Stroger Hospital has a long way to go. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p>A new French study shows that breastfeeding may have lasting benefits for a child&rsquo;s metabolism. Other studies suggest breastfeeding helps prevent infections, chronic diseases and obesity. Evidence like this has moved the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend giving babies no food or drink other than breast milk for their first six months. At many Chicago-area hospitals, though, breast milk competes with baby formula. At some of them, the real stuff usually loses. From our West Side bureau, we compare how the area&rsquo;s hospitals approach breastfeeding and see whether watchdog agencies are paying much attention.</p><p>MITCHELL: Certified lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes landed a job in December.</p><p>STOKES: I was excited just to get to that place to really make a difference.</p><p>MITCHELL: That place was the maternity ward of Cook County&rsquo;s Stroger Hospital. Stokes was there to encourage and train moms to breastfeed. But she noticed the hospital giving them signals it was OK to feed newborns formula.</p><p>STOKES: I saw bottles in the cribs.</p><p>MITCHELL: Then Stokes met one of the hospital&rsquo;s newest mothers. Like many patients on the ward, she was young and black. What was less usual was her file. It showed she&rsquo;d been planning to breastfeed.</p><p>STOKES: The baby was born and then, at night, she had some problems with latch-on, which happens. She said, &lsquo;The nurse told me to give the baby a bottle.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s what she told me.</p><p>MITCHELL: You believe her?</p><p>STOKES: Yes, I do. Most nurses, they just don&rsquo;t want to take the time to help moms. They have a million other things to do.</p><p>MITCHELL: And there was no breastfeeding peer counselor or lactation consultant on duty overnight?</p><p>STOKES: No.</p><p>MITCHELL: One of Stokes&rsquo; supervisors at Stroger confirms that the hospital keeps bottles in cribs and that the nurses sometimes give out formula without any medical reason. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/baby-formula/breast-feeding-disparities-sharp-chicago-area-hospitals">Birth-certificate data</a> show that less than 60 percent of infants born at Stroger get to breastfeed there. And there are more places like this. A dozen Chicago-area hospitals have even lower rates. The data show there&rsquo;s one on the South Side where just 10 percent of newborns start breastfeeding.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door closes.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): I&rsquo;m inside that hospital now. It&rsquo;s called Holy Cross. I&rsquo;m taking an elevator to the 6th floor to see Anita Allen-Karriem. She directs what Holy Cross calls its Family Birth Center.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door opens. Intercom voice. Birth Center door opens.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem shows me around the ward.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: And, as you can see, this is our rooming-in. And our moms are here and they can have their baby here 24/7...</p><p>MITCHELL: She says Holy Cross initiates breastfeeding within an hour of birth.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: My nurses have the tools that they need to assist with breastfeeding the mom. And we encourage breastfeeding on demand.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): How many lactation consultants do you have on staff?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: We don&rsquo;t have any. Our volume does not support that at this particular time.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): Any peer counselors that come in as volunteers? Breastfeeding peer counselors?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: No, we don&rsquo;t have that at the present.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem says convincing her patients to breastfeed is not always easy. She says most have not received any prenatal care before showing up in labor. Even more than Stroger Hospital, Holy Cross lets breast milk compete with formula. Allen-Karriem says her hospital sends moms home with a few days worth of formula. The idea&rsquo;s to tide them over, until they get into a federal nutrition program that provides more.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: Is it the best method of nutrition? No, it is not. Breastfeeding is. However, it&rsquo;s the mom&rsquo;s choice. If she wants to exclusively breastfeed, we do not send her home with formula. However, because she has not chosen to breastfeed, would you send her outside your doors with no way to feed her infant and no way to buy any formula?</p><p>MITCHELL: Again, Holy Cross is at the bottom when it comes to breastfeeding rates in Chicago-area hospitals. Experts say that&rsquo;s not a big surprise since it doesn&rsquo;t have lactation consultants and gives out all that formula. But some hospitals are taking a different tack.</p><p>INTERCOM: Stroke alert for the Emergency Room...</p><p>MITCHELL: Like Stroger and Holy Cross, Mount Sinai on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side serves mostly low-income patients. Last year about half the babies born at the hospital were getting breastfed there. To lift that rate, Mount Sinai says it&rsquo;s planning to apply for a pro-breastfeeding designation from the United Nations called Baby Friendly.</p><p>SAIDEL: This is the room where the hearing screen is done...</p><p>MITCHELL: Lou-Ellen Saidel is one of two half-time lactation consultants on Mount Sinai&rsquo;s maternity ward. She says you can see the effect of the Baby Friendly program right in this room. Saidel says the nurses used to quiet down babies for hearing tests by giving them formula. Now, she points to a big sign at eye level.</p><p>SAIDEL: It says, &lsquo;Bottles should only be given for a documented medical reason.&rsquo; So now they don&rsquo;t use formula on breastfeeding babies anymore in here.</p><p>MITCHELL: Saidel says Mount Sinai puts almost every staffer who comes into contact with new mothers or infants through breastfeeding training...</p><p>SAIDEL: ...from registered nurse to secretary. This is a process of people acquiring skills that were not taught in nursing school and medical school.</p><p>MITCHELL: For the Baby Friendly designation, some Sinai staffers will need more training. The sessions won&rsquo;t cost the hospital much money but will eat up staff time. That could explain why no Chicago hospital has applied for the designation. But a lot of breastfeeding experts say the hospitals should give it a try.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Breastfeeding is one those priority areas that are life-and-death for their patients.</p><p>MITCHELL: Rachel Abramson is a former post-partum nurse who heads a Chicago nonprofit group called HealthConnect One.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Those of us who grew up thinking that formula feeding is the norm and perfectly adequate have a hard time shifting our vision to see the risks of illness in the first year of life, juvenile diabetes, of breast cancer for mother, of obesity and diabetes &mdash; lifelong &mdash; for mothers and babies.</p><p>MITCHELL: Abramson says the costs for treating these diseases often ends up on the shoulders of taxpayers. If that&rsquo;s the case, you might think the government and hospital oversight groups would push hard for better breastfeeding rates. But they don&rsquo;t push. They mostly nudge.</p><p>MITCHELL: One group with some accountability is the Oakbrook Terrace-based Joint Commission. It accredits hospitals. Ann Watt helps direct the commission&rsquo;s quality-evaluation division. Watt says about a year ago the commission published some standards for hospitals to measure whether newborns were breastfeeding.</p><p>WATT: Our medical experts have indicated to us that this is a best practice.</p><p>MITCHELL: But these commission standards are voluntary. In fact, just three Illinois hospitals have adopted them.</p><p>MITCHELL (on phone): Could a hospital be performing poorly by these measures and still get accreditation?</p><p>WATT: Yes.</p><p>MITCHELL: Another group with some say is the Illinois Hospital Association. I asked the group whether it would support more public oversight of hospital breastfeeding practices. A spokesman declined to answer on tape but sent a statement saying the rules should not be rigid. The statement says breastfeeding management should begin with prenatal care, not the mother&rsquo;s hospital stay. The hospital association also points out that the decision to breastfeed is personal.</p><p>MITCHELL: The folks with the most to say about hospitals breastfeeding rates are at the Illinois Department of Public Health. The department is in charge of enforcing the state&rsquo;s hospital-licensing code. The code requires hospitals to follow basic breastfeeding guidelines that two physician groups published in 2007. In a statement to WBEZ, the Illinois Department of Public Health says it investigates breastfeeding infection-control issues. Otherwise, though, the department says it does not enforce the guidelines. That leaves public policy on breastfeeding largely up to individual hospitals &mdash; places like Stroger, Mount Sinai and Holy Cross.</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the status of Mount Sinai Hospital&rsquo;s Baby Friendly effort. Chicago officials announced in August 2010 that Mount Sinai was seeking the international designation. The hospital registered to begin that four-phase process in September 2011.</em></p></p> Thu, 05 May 2011 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk Breastfeeding disparities sharp in Chicago-area hospitals http://www.wbez.org/story/baby-formula/breast-feeding-disparities-sharp-chicago-area-hospitals <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-11/98032155.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>New figures show a wide disparity among Chicago-area hospitals when it comes to promoting breastfeeding.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Public Health compiled birth-certificate data about breastfeeding for the first nine months of last year. WBEZ compared the 49 hospitals (see below) that deliver babies in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.</p><p>Three hospitals on Chicago’s South Side got fewer than 15 percent of newborns to breastfeed by the time they went home. On the North Side, Swedish Covenant got almost 98 percent of newborns to breast-feed.</p><p>Rachel Abramson, executive director of Chicago-based HealthConnect One, explains how the successful hospitals do it. “They begin breastfeeding within an hour after delivery,” says Abramson, whose group promotes maternal and child health.</p><p>“They give the infant only breast milk in the hospital, no bottles of formula or sugar water,” she adds. “They do not give pacifiers. And they give no gift packs — formula samples — to the mothers when they leave the hospital.”</p><p>Breastfeeding helps babies and mothers avoid chronic diseases.</p> <style type="text/css"> table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}</style> </p><table class="tableizer-table"><tbody><tr class="tableizer-firstrow"><th style="text-align: left;"><p>&nbsp; HOSPITAL (CITY)</p></th><th style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;NEWBORNS<br>&nbsp;BREASTFEEDING<br>&nbsp;UPON DISCHARGE&nbsp;&nbsp;</th></tr><tr><td>Swedish Covenant Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>97.84%</td></tr><tr><td>Norwegian American Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>96.89%</td></tr><tr><td>Northwest Community Hospital (Arlington Heights)</td><td>96.44%</td></tr><tr><td>Central DuPage Hospital (Winfield)</td><td>95.93%</td></tr><tr><td>Alexian Brothers Medical Center (Elk Grove Village)</td><td>91.57%</td></tr><tr><td>Adventist Hinsdale Hospital (Hinsdale)</td><td>89.96%</td></tr><tr><td>Edward Hospital (Naperville)</td><td>89.58%</td></tr><tr><td>Delnor-community Hospital (Geneva)</td><td>87.93%</td></tr><tr><td>St. Alexius Medical Center (Hoffman Estates)</td><td>87.89%</td></tr><tr><td>Sherman Hospital (Elgin)</td><td>87.67%</td></tr><tr><td>Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital (Downers Grove)</td><td>87.57%</td></tr><tr><td>Elmhurst Memorial Hospital (Elmhurst)</td><td>86.93%</td></tr><tr><td>Resurrection Medical Center (Chicago)</td><td>85.14%</td></tr><tr><td>St. Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (Chicago)</td><td>82.94%</td></tr><tr><td>Rush-Copley Medical Center (Aurora)</td><td>82.43%</td></tr><tr><td>Evanston Hosp. Northshore Univ. Health System (Evanston)</td><td>82.05%</td></tr><tr><td>Palos Community Hospital (Palos Heights)</td><td>79.09%</td></tr><tr><td>Advocate Christ Medical Center (Oak Lawn)</td><td>78.59%</td></tr><tr><td>Loyola Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (Melrose Park)</td><td>78.14%</td></tr><tr><td>Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital (La Grange)</td><td>77.80%</td></tr><tr><td>Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center (Chicago)</td><td>74.86%</td></tr><tr><td>Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>72.89%</td></tr><tr><td>Rush University Medical Center (Chicago)</td><td>70.96%</td></tr><tr><td>St. Joseph Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>70.32%</td></tr><tr><td>Provena Mercy Medical Center (Aurora)</td><td>70.19%</td></tr><tr><td>Westlake Hospital (Melrose Park)</td><td>68.18%</td></tr><tr><td>Mercy Hospital and Medical Center (Chicago)</td><td>67.37%</td></tr><tr><td>Advocate Lutheran General Hospital (Park Ridge)</td><td>66.98%</td></tr><tr><td>MacNeal Hospital (Berwyn)</td><td>66.93%</td></tr><tr><td>St. James Hospital and Health Centers (Chicago Heights)</td><td>65.36%</td></tr><tr><td>University of Illinois Medical Center-Chicago (Chicago)</td><td>64.98%</td></tr><tr><td>Little Company of Mary Hospital (Evergreen Park)</td><td>63.20%</td></tr><tr><td>Advocate South Suburban Hospital (Hazel Crest)</td><td>62.46%</td></tr><tr><td>University of Chicago Medical Center (Chicago)</td><td>61.08%</td></tr><tr><td>Advocate Trinity Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>59.10%</td></tr><tr><td>West Suburban Medical Center (Oak Park)</td><td>58.66%</td></tr><tr><td>John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>58.49%</td></tr><tr><td>Loyola University Medical Center (Maywood)</td><td>57.49%</td></tr><tr><td>Adventist GlenOaks Hospital (Glendale Heights)</td><td>54.86%</td></tr><tr><td>St. Francis Hospital (Evanston)</td><td>54.36%</td></tr><tr><td>Mount Sinai Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>51.57%</td></tr><tr><td>Metro South Medical Center (Blue Island)</td><td>45.03%</td></tr><tr><td>Provident Hospital of Cook County (Chicago)</td><td>39.17%</td></tr><tr><td>Ingalls Memorial Hospital (Harvey)</td><td>30.51%</td></tr><tr><td>St. Bernard Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>25.60%</td></tr><tr><td>St. Anthony Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>19.73%</td></tr><tr><td>Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center (Chicago)</td><td>14.29%</td></tr><tr><td>Roseland Community Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>13.43%</td></tr><tr><td>Holy Cross Hospital (Chicago)</td><td>10.20%</td></tr></tbody></table><p>Source: WBEZ analysis of January-September 2010 birth-certificate data compiled by the Illinois Department of Public Health for the “Illinois Hospital Report Card and Consumer Guide to Health Care.”</p></p> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 16:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/baby-formula/breast-feeding-disparities-sharp-chicago-area-hospitals