Obstetricians Respond to “Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits”

To the editors of Santa Barbara Independent and Edhat.com,

The OB/GYN community feels compelled to respond to the June 16 article, “Unicorn OB Calls It Quits.” We would like the opportunity to correct some of the misinformation, and address what we believe is a mischaracterization of our community’s experienced and compassionate OB/GYN physicians and staff members.  

The entire obstetric community has been working diligently and tirelessly to care for our existing patients and as your article explains, we have had to accommodate the many new patients who were recently and precipitously left without care, some of whom are due to deliver within a matter of weeks.  This unanticipated influx of patients has resulted in over 500 new prenatal appointments over the next three to six months and has added considerable strain to all the OB/GYN practices in our community. However, we remain committed to caring for the women in our community, as we have done responsibly and professionally for decades.

As a board-certified group of obstetricians and gynecologists, we closely adhere to the high standards of evidence-based care set forth by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).  As we explore our patients’ personal preferences, we create birth plans for each mother and make sure that they are informed about the latest research in order to most effectively navigate their health and safety, which is of paramount importance. Collectively, we have performed many thousands of deliveries, and again, as board-certified members of ACOG, we take pride in the care and management of our pregnant patients by frequently communicating with them about treatment, and consent for that treatment. 

We believe that the characterization that maternal health care is lacking in our Santa Barbara community is an uninformed mischaracterization, and one that is not supported by the thousands of women we have taken care of over many decades. We are proud to have had the honor of delivering generations of babies here in our community, and we consider it a privilege to be part of what is often considered the most precious experience for countless families.  

While continually striving to enhance and advance the care we provide, our local group of Santa Barbara obstetricians and gynecologists, along with our staff, operate with the highest level of professionalism and collegiality and are dedicated to putting our patients first.  While we always want to listen closely to our community members about their experience with us, we believe the quality of maternal health care that we are so proud to provide is much different than what has been presented in this article and as a result, we felt compelled to respond.


Sansum Clinic Obstetrics & Gynecology: Carin Craig, MD, FACOG, David Raphael, MD, FACOG, Charmian Dresel-Velasquez, MD, FACOG, Navi Reiners, MD, FACOG, Joanna Gibbs, PA, Heather Terbell, MD, FACOG, Ashley McGrogan, PA-C, Meghan Wallman, MD, FACOG, Heather Merrick, MPAS, PA-C, Wanda Westerman NP, CNM

Susanne Ramos, MD, FACOG

Pedram Rashti, MD, FACOG 

Op-Ed’s are written by community members and organizations, not representatives of edhat. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat.
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  1. So, I know a woman who was told by her OB/GYN last year that she must get the covid vax in her 7th month of pregnancy or she would not be allowed to give birth, as planned, in Cottage hospital. Quote: “Get it or good luck giving birth at home.” Terrified, she complied. She experienced prolonged labor and was finally given a cesarean, and there were severe anomalies with the placenta and umbilical cord. Something the attending doctor and nurses had ever seen before, and the body parts were sent off for examination. When she went back to the doctor for a checkup she was told a second woman had had the exact same anomalies in the placenta and cord. She asked if that woman had also been forced to vax while pregnant and the doctor only replied “That could not have caused it.” The doctor also gave no explanation about what those malformations were. Thankfully she and her baby are OK now. When women are treated like this I can well imagine how cherished a “unicorn” was.

  2. SMURFO – “Anastasia Stone, a doula who worked often with Drake, said she thinks Santa Barbara’s medical establishment felt threatened by Drake, isolating her and ultimately overburdening her. “What I see is a doctor who practiced a more midwifery-focused philosophy of care, where there’s informed consent and a focus on emotional outcomes,” Stone said, explaining she is personally aware of other OB-GYNs performing procedures and administering medications without a patient’s permission. ”
    That is not Ed accusing anyone of anything. That is reporting that a local doula said this. It is not directed at any specific doctor, nor Sansum itself. She is speaking about “Santa Barbara’s medical establishment.” A defamation suit against Edhat (or even this doula) would be tossed out upon filing.

  3. Doesn’t seen to me that Ms. Drake gave many clues about why she was leaving, but the Independent /Edhat went ahead and printed a lot of conjecture from Ms. Stone. Then for some reason the Independent/Edhat ran with Ms. Stone’s assertion that she: “is personally aware of other OB-GYNs performing procedures and administering medications without a patient’s permission. ” without any verification. The original article is sloppy enough if you stop there, but no- they go on to quote an anonymous source who corroborates none of the above but is presented as “agreeing” with Stone which she does, but not on the sensational parts like unwanted procedures and medications, or on the alleged ostracism.
    ““Maternal healthcare in S.B. is extremely lacking,” the nurse said. “This is much of the reason so many people flooded to Dr. Drake. She gave the personalized, evidence-based care that is not present with many of the other practitioners in town.”

  4. And I don’t buy the “well I never saw it so it must have never happened story.” I also work in healthcare and I’ve seen a lot of stuff that will never be uncovered. You’re not the only one and count yourself lucky to have never witnessed anything illegal… that or you have your blinders on.

  5. It is systemic. And Sansum is also at fault here. Along with government policies, insurance companies, etc. etc. But the real issue in this article is that one OB felt ganged up on by her peers and/or admins of these monopolies in town. That isn’t right.

  6. seems super odd that some random on edhat is disclosing medical information about someone “other” than them. disclosing what doctors said, and nurses exclaimed when they were not there.
    welcome to the internet. say what you want how you want, regardless of the truth.
    I have had two children, and I promise you. the doctors and nurses dont say ANYTHING like that to you in the delivery room/ c-section room. they are going 100mph and not examining placentas, llet alone that is NOT the diagnosis time and they dont want to say the WRONG thing.
    my wife also delayed labor, but guess what. thats LABOR. you know people can be in labor for DAYS. yes, days. ( way before covid too )

  7. “It is morally and ethically responsible that a practicing physician see their last obstetric patient through to delivery. OBGYN do quit and they do retire but they always see out their patients. ”
    Utter nonsense. There are so many stupid and dishonest charges here from people on all sides.

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