August 24, 2019

Winnipeg
26° C, Overcast

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Klein delivers valuable insight on childbirth

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/9/2018 (343 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

After a lifetime of work, no one can accuse Dr. Michael Klein of resting on his laurels. The self-described outsider has challenged the status quo in medicine throughout his career. Now in semi-retirement, Klein has written about how his experiences and his social-justice outlook guided him in his lifelong efforts to de-medicalize maternity and family care.

Klein’s thoughtful memoir reads like a chronicle from the 1960s until today. A red-diaper baby born in 1938, Klein’s father was blacklisted as an animator for organizing a union at Walt Disney Studios. His parents imbued him with a leftist consciousness, so when the U.S. government sent his draft notice, he joined tens of thousands of other young American men in refusing to fight. He and his wife left for a new life in Montreal and later Vancouver.

He analyzes the political and social upheavals that transformed society and revolutionized his chosen field of medicine. He argues that technologies and advances also fostered an attitude that fragmented health care into silos — specialties that dismissed previously reliable forms of treatment in favour of pills, procedures and machines, which disregarded a holistic approach to an illness and ignored the patient as a partner in diagnosis.

Klein’s interest in maternal care deepened after stints as a student in rural Mexico and Ethiopia. “Many, if not most diseases, were preventable through basic public health programs,” he writes, and his work, though fulfilling personally, “was a drop in the ocean among the millions of needy children.”

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/9/2018 (343 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

After a lifetime of work, no one can accuse Dr. Michael Klein of resting on his laurels. The self-described outsider has challenged the status quo in medicine throughout his career. Now in semi-retirement, Klein has written about how his experiences and his social-justice outlook guided him in his lifelong efforts to de-medicalize maternity and family care.

Klein’s thoughtful memoir reads like a chronicle from the 1960s until today. A red-diaper baby born in 1938, Klein’s father was blacklisted as an animator for organizing a union at Walt Disney Studios. His parents imbued him with a leftist consciousness, so when the U.S. government sent his draft notice, he joined tens of thousands of other young American men in refusing to fight. He and his wife left for a new life in Montreal and later Vancouver.

He analyzes the political and social upheavals that transformed society and revolutionized his chosen field of medicine. He argues that technologies and advances also fostered an attitude that fragmented health care into silos — specialties that dismissed previously reliable forms of treatment in favour of pills, procedures and machines, which disregarded a holistic approach to an illness and ignored the patient as a partner in diagnosis.

Klein’s interest in maternal care deepened after stints as a student in rural Mexico and Ethiopia. "Many, if not most diseases, were preventable through basic public health programs," he writes, and his work, though fulfilling personally, "was a drop in the ocean among the millions of needy children."

His work in Ethiopia took his career on a path that embraced midwifery as a method of maternal care and normal delivery and that advocated for natural pain relief instead of drugs in childbirth. He also began questioning the routine use in developed countries of episiotomy, the surgical incision of the perineum to enlarge the opening of the vaginal wall during the birth process, with the justification that it prevents vaginal tearing and enables a baby to pass through more quickly. The opening is stitched after birth.

With other health-care providers, Klein began researching the consequences of episiotomies and concluded they caused the problems they were supposed to prevent, including infection and other trauma. Their research butted up against established practices, but their solid data and tenacity were convincing.

The use of episiotomies has dropped dramatically over time, with positive effects on women’s recoveries postpartum.

Klein acknowledges the many dedicated mentors who encouraged him. His narrative includes anecdotes about how individual patients responded to treatments, examples he says prove medicine must also find solutions to the social and psychological challenges a patient faces, as well as the physical problems.

He recounts how various colleagues responded to his promotion of midwifery and the team approach to care. Some of his associates are described in frank, unflattering ways, but Klein admits to stubbornly pushing the envelope to achieve better outcomes for patients.

He expresses views consistent with his social-advocacy approach, including the single-payer health system.

He and his wife, Bonnie, a film producer, also produced two red-diaper babies: their son Seth was, until recently, the director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in B.C., while their daughter, Naomi, is a well-known social activist and writer whose books include The Shock Doctrine, No Logo and This Changes Everything.

Klein occasionally dwells on his pet peeves, but Dissident Doctor moves briskly. It’s an informative and insightful look into the politics, roadblocks and successes in our medical system over the past 50 years.

Harriet Zaidman is a freelance and children’s writer in Winnipeg. Her middle-grade novel set during the 1919 General Strike will be released next year.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us