Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits title=
Dr. Melissa Drake during a public health meeting on the Zika virus in 2016 (Photo: Paul Wellman / Independent)
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This article is a joint reporting venture by Edhat and the Santa Barbara Independent and is the first in an ongoing series of stories on maternal health in Santa Barbara.


By Lauren Bray and Tyler Hayden

Dr. Melissa Drake, a highly sought after Santa Barbara OB-GYN known for her progressive approach to women’s healthcare, announced she is closing her practice at the end of the month. Drake cited personal medical issues and a desire to spend more time with her family as the reasons for decision, which came as a surprise to her many patients and created a sudden influx of demand on Santa Barbara’s remaining obstetricians.

“It has been the honor of my life to work with the women of Santa Barbara,” Drake said in her May 13 announcement on Instagram that explained her office would stop accepting CenCal insurance on June 15 before closing on June 30. “Thank you for allowing me to be part of the most personal, profound, and important days of your lives,” she said. 

A native of Tucson, Drake received her medical degree from the University of Arizona College of Medicine and completed her residency at George Washington University in Washington, DC. She opened her Santa Barbara practice in 2017 and quickly gained a local following that only grew after she delivered Meghan Markle’s daughter at Cottage Hospital last summer. Though her unabashedly patient-first attitude toward medicine endeared her to hundreds of women, it also created professional tensions with some members of Santa Barbara’s medical community, particularly around the issue of VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean-section) and collaboration with midwives.

Sansum Clinic Medical Director Dr. Marjorie Newman said the news of Drake’s impending departure has prompted a coordinated effort “where all local obstetricians are working together to address this unforeseen challenge.” Sansum, which employs six delivering OB-GYNs on the South Coast, is “working diligently to accommodate as many patients as we can, especially those who are due to deliver within the next few months,” Newman said. Doctors have extended their hours, nurse practitioners and physician assistants from other departments have rescheduled some of their regular appointments to well-woman visits, and the clinic is actively recruiting more OBs. One is expected to start in August.

When reached by phone this Thursday, a Sansum receptionist said patients calling for an appointment are being added to a waitlist, whether they are already established with a Sansum doctor or transferring from Dr. Drake’s office. It could be “a few weeks” before they are called back, the receptionist said. Additionally, patients are currently unable to choose their doctor and will be connected with the first available physician.

The only private OB-GYN delivering in Santa Barbara, Dr. Pedram Rashti, is currently accepting pregnant patients, though Rashti’s office said they don’t have room for any women due in the next three months. After that, they had only one delivery date available for September and four for October. Attempts to speak to Rashti directly were unsuccessful. 

A call to Dr. Susan Ramos’s office revealed Ramos is not accepting pregnant patients and it’s unclear when, or if, she will in the future. Dr. Margaret Echt is no longer practicing obstetrics and is offering a concierge service for gynecological needs.[*Note: The previous sentence stated, "Dr. Margaret Echt is also no longer taking new patients and is instead offering cash-only services for other gynecological needs." This has since been updated].

The Santa Barbara Healthcare Center, as part of the county's Public Health Department, does have appointment availability but is only open to people with Medi-Cal or without insurance. Many women are now looking south for help. A receptionist at the Ventura County Obstetric + Gynecologic Medical Group confirmed they had been receiving numerous calls and transfers from the Santa Barbara area.

In addition to touching off a local scramble for replacement care, Drake’s announcement underscores an issue affecting communities across the United States ― a growing shortage of OB-GYNs. According to a 2021 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of OB-GYNs is expected to decrease from 50,850 to 47,490 (7%) over the next eight years, while demand is projected to increase from 50,850 to 52,660 (4%). In 2018, California was operating with a deficit of 230 full-time OB-GYNs; it’s projected the deficit will grow to 1,160 by 2030.

Burnout is a major factor. A 2017 report by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states an estimated 40–75 percent of OB-GYNs experience some form of professional burnout “(e.g., losing control, conflicting demands on time, or diminishing sense of worth)” in their careers.

Layered upon the scheduling dilemmas in Santa Barbara is a palpable sense of mourning among past patients of Dr. Drake as well as hopeful mothers. “My friend group is pretty devastated to lose Dr. Drake as a practitioner in town,” said Jorden Hirsch, who said she knows at least 10 women who are now looking for new OBs. “It’s a real loss for the community.” Katherine Mueller said Drake possessed that rare dual-quality in doctors of top-level expertise paired with a compassionate bedside manner. “She always made her patients feel comfortable, in control, and always gave them the right to say no,” Mueller said.

Kay de Veer Ulanch, whose twin boys were delivered by Drake, used a word that’s frequently cited by her fans ― “unicorn.” “She puts you in charge,” Ulanch explained. “You lead your birth experience. That’s a big deal, and it’s not common.” Ulanch described the closure of Drake’s practice as a “travesty” for Santa Barbara. “I know that sounds dramatic,” she said, “but she’s done so much good to so many families. When you’re having a child, you want the best, and she’s the best.” Like others, Ulanch wonders if Drake’s decision to shut down was prompted by more than just personal reasons. “I hope we figure out what’s going on,” Ulanch said, “and I hope she comes back.” 

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. 

“So you have this stark contrast in the way care is being provided, and it puts pressure on other doctors to change how they’re practicing,” Stone went on. That dynamic bred resentment, she claimed, and led to Drake being ostracized by many of her colleagues. A Santa Barbara nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed with Stone’s assessment. “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.”

Drake herself declined to expand on her reasons for closing or address rumors of an eventual return, but she did offer more insight into her philosophies on maternal health and the time-consuming nature of her approach. “One of my most important guiding principles is patient autonomy and giving power back to women,” she said in a statement provided Tuesday. “OB/GYN care represents an inflection point in peoples’ lives. People who feel disempowered and disrespected during their birth experience carry that with them forever. It impacts not only the way they feel as parents, but also impacts their future interactions with healthcare.”

Women are socialized to avoid conflict, Drake went on, which can spill over into the doctor-patient relationship. “Ask any woman about their medical experience, and you will hear a lot about soft pressure,” she said. “I try to let patients know that even if they are making a decision that I don’t agree with, I will try to support them as best I can, within my ability to do so.”

Why is this such a rare thing? Drake asked. Why is she called a unicorn? “Because it is very labor intensive,” she said, further explaining that it takes time to have these conversations. “The healthcare system is not set up to reimburse providers for this kind of work… But we deserve this kind of care. We all do.”


[Update 6/17/22: Sansum Clinic provided an additional response to the above article. It can be read in full here.]

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jsavell Jun 19, 2022 10:48 AM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

OBs cannot be on call for every delivery so I wonder about her coverage arrangements. If other practitioners had different treatment philosophies they might not have wanted to be in her coverage group. I am just speculating. But it is unusual to close an office so abruptly.

Natty Jun 18, 2022 09:42 AM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Hey Drea,
My comment was definitely not to attack Dr. Ramos, many of my girlfriends are patients of hers, she has an excellent reputation! My comment was about her office staff, not very professional to take out stress on women calling who are desperate for care no matter how overwhelming ones day is going. We are all in limbo, not just for prenatal care. No need to take it out on us just trying to find new medical care. I have plenty of experiences with other OBGYNS in this town, so yes, it was pretty hard finally finding one that worked for me and then losing her. I know how busy OB offices are, and I highly respect these great doc’s who work hard around the clock, that’s why I have empathy for those that choose to step away, it’s a lot.

Natty Jun 19, 2022 01:38 AM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Yep, I know there are mixed reviews, just trying to be the bigger person, clearly Dr. Drake was doing something right since they’re fighting so hard to prove points. I would bounce out too, jealous much? This isn’t a popularity contest. Dr. Drake hands down has the best bedside manner, she was passionate about her field of work and I don’t look at it as her abandoning her patients and being unethical. Kudos to her for stepping away if she was feeling burned out, it’s got to be hard to be so needed all the time, if that was the actual case. At least she gave it her all instead of turning into one of those with horrible bedside manner and became cold and emotionless. There are plenty of doctors and nurses that work past their time who should retire and it shows. It’s not hard to be NICE, but I’m not going to continue with this discussion. Super tired of giving people the benefit of the doubt. Wish the best for all, Dr. Drake and for all her patients to find good care now that she’s gone.

a-1655614227 Jun 18, 2022 09:50 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

I wouldn't say Ramos has an "excellent reputation" but sure some people like her, some people do not. Overall, all the drs in this field are overwhelmed and that deserves attention. Pay no mind to the doctor's office staff that clearly has time to argue with patients on comment boards.

sbsunshine Jun 17, 2022 09:36 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

This is not an isolated issue to OBGYN. The quality of healthcare providers in this town is substandard. The Ridley Cancer Center is nothing but a new building. The service there is bad. You walk up to the check-in desk and don't get a hello. Doctors are late sometimes an hour and haven't even looked at your file until they meet with you. Worse yet, there is no real integrated care program like leading edge hospitals that offer cutting-edge nutrition counseling, oncology acupuncture with actual trained practitioners who have studied for years with Asian experts in oncology, nutrient IV treatments, massage and so much more. In fact, when you look into the acupuncture, they offer a patient 6/7 free treatments which does not thing to address the long-term oncology needs of a cancer patient and the person doing it doesn't have deep oncology expertise (sorry but someone has to say this). Why is it that Santa Barbara is so progressive in natural, organic, regenerative and mind-body healing and yet NONE of this is integrated in to the Cottage Hospital Ridley Cancer Center? John Hopkins just finished their Mistletoe clinical trial with really good results (final results published in August). There are other leading hospitals using integrative approaches. Santa Barbara is stuck in the dark ages of conservative, controlling infrastructure that is afraid of losing their jobs. Money is the largest driver here, not patient care and we must be honest and tell the truth so things change. They should have embraced this doctor and used her model to train other people and it could have been a HUGE revenue stream for them. But fear won. Fear is what drives them. Also, they hire their friends and family verses qualified people because living here means a fight for good paying jobs. We have our share of bad doctors so when a shining star comes along the bad ones want to turn off the light. Let's help the light win on this one.

Watcher237 Jun 17, 2022 02:52 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

This seems to be an indication of the current state of healthcare. When you consider the COST of schooling it takes to become a doctor, plus the YEARS involved, then consider how government and insurance companies dictate the low reimbursement costs given to doctors, for their work, is it any surprise that we see shortages? Actually, this is a common occurrence seen when governments try to manage a segment of the economy. In this case, healthcare. Free markets still work the best, all things considered.

Lrao Jun 17, 2022 11:06 AM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Thank you for reporting on this important story! Dr. Melissa Drake delivered my 1st baby in 2019. We felt so grateful to be in such professional hands. My husband is a physician (cardiologist) & he was also extremely impressed by Dr. Drake’s skills. I am sad to see that she’s shut down her practice & hope she reconsiders in the future. I’m also disappointed that some of her colleagues didn’t learn to work with her & respect her different approach to practice.
Dr. Drake does put the woman 1st & let her make important decisions, but it should be noted that she very much explains the science & safest way to get things accomplished (medically speaking). I felt very safe & supported by her. She listened well & explained the risks & benefits of everything, so that the patient could make their own decision (within safety guidelines)!!! Frankly, I feel that’s how it should always be. Dr. Drake was raising the standard of care & maybe some of the medical community wasn’t ready for change. What a shame. She will be missed, and all the women she could have helped during such a vulnerable time in their life. I wish Dr. Drake the best & hope she’s sitting on a beach w/a pina colada & a big smile on her face. She sure did her time & deserves it ❤️!!!!!!!

SBsurferlife Jun 17, 2022 10:19 AM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

I'm reading some blowback here and on social media over this story. People seem to think this article is defaming all OBs in town and it isn't. Or just because someone had a fantastic experience with an OB (I did at Sansum) doesn't mean that another person's bad experience at Sansum or with another OB is invalid. Two things can be true at the same time. And there are enough stories of people having bad experiences that it's worth calling out. OBs do a lot of great work but it's common knowledge in town that some are less than stellar. That is why so many women interview their drs and pick who is the right fit for them. And this article is pointing out that A LOT of women chose Dr. Drake because of the service and care she provides in comparison to other OBs in town. Perhaps this should open the conversation to those other OBs and Sansum to listen and learn.

Basicinfo805 Jun 16, 2022 07:27 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

When you’re an OB in SB and let the patient “lead their birth experience”, it’s a recipe for burnout.

Translation for non-MD’s: Santa Barbara is full of entitled people, some of whom are of course expecting moms. If you cater to a specific group who want it “their way”, it isn’t sustainable. Difficult things can and do happen in childbirth, and in medicine as a whole. It can’t always be “how you want it”.

I have a feeling she did her best here, many loved her, but she simply got burnt out trying to please every patient. That’s a common issue in healthcare delivery these days.

TurnerMed805 Jun 16, 2022 02:51 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

So Dr. Melissa Drake is closing her practice. It's a sad but not unexpected reflection of the personal and professional atmosphere in the arena of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Santa Barbara. Despite the outstanding medical facilities in Santa Barbara the standard of care has not been patient centric. Personally I ran into these same problems decades ago with both OB and in GYN Surgery. How in this world of constant change has the issue of women's health care been so mired in the past?
Duncan Turner MD

Drea Jun 16, 2022 02:47 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

This article is grossly untrue and one sided. Thank you National Inquirer. On the topic of libel- specific offices have been named. Doctors have been named. Accusations of misguided treatments and procedures have been stated. A specific patient has been announced breaking HIPPA which is illegal- unless the dutchess gave the author permission to disclose her care…. And I highly doubt that. That’s not a unicorn, it’s a devil horn and this article is false. I would expect better due diligence to have been done. Enjoy the legal fees.

Natty Jun 18, 2022 01:22 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

According to her office staff she is not, including GYN wellness checks. I was not told she had a nurse practitioner helping either. This is not my first rodeo with them leaving a bad impression. Again, this is towards my experience with her staff. Everyone has their own experience! Call them, maybe yours will be different.

Natty Jun 18, 2022 12:21 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

According to her office staff she is not, including GYN wellness checks. I was not told she had a nurse practitioner helping either. This is not my first rodeo with them leaving a bad impression. Again, this is towards my experience with her staff.

Natty Jun 18, 2022 10:40 AM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

You sound like you have a pretty strong bias against Dr. Drake. I watched how caring she was to all walks of life, not just picking and choosing who has the best health insurance and notoriety in town. Has it occurred to you that maybe she was picking up slack where others were lacking? She truly “cared” about each and every single woman. She took on a tremendous LOAD.

Drea Jun 17, 2022 04:10 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Natty

I was under her care and did not have a positive experience at all. Also do you please see the irony that you are forgiving of Dr Drake for taking care of herself by abandoning her obstetric patients (patients with a timeline and very specific and essential needs) but you are critical of the OBGYN who are practicing and picking up her mess? So they not also deserve to take care of themselves and their families? They are over worked, under staffed. A “best” OBGYN does not quit and abandon her patients.

Drea Jun 17, 2022 03:33 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Natty,

If you are willing to see an NP - Dr Ramos does take new patients with the NP. Otherwise one person simply cannot take on the lot of another physicians practice. I’m glad you had a nice experience with Dr Drake. I stand by that an OBGYN sees their patients through.

Natty Jun 17, 2022 02:41 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Drea, this is so not true. I called Ramos’ office trying to make an appointment and was basically hung up on by a rude office staff member saying she is not taking any new patients.

Shame on you or anybody who bashes dr drake for taking care of herself, if that means closing her office that is her right to do so. As a patient of Dr. Drakes, she went over and beyond, advocated for me every step of the way with my last two pregnancies. I had a traumatic experience with a local doctor in town with my first pregnancy. Dr. Drake is the best, hence why we are all devastated to see her go. It took me years to find her and I know nobody else compares to her in town. She’s amazing and everyone who had the privilege of being under her care feels that way. I wish the best for her and I hope she comes back in the future. She went over and beyond for us all and I know she’ll make another huge positive impact with whatever her next chapter is.

letmego Jun 17, 2022 09:10 AM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

DREA, I don't have a dog in this fight (I'm old, my babies were delivered by Sansum doctors). From what I've read and heard from my younger friends, Dr. Drake was VERY MUCH beloved by the vast majority of her patients. Thus, the description of "unicorn" is hardly one-sided because patients are not personal staff or friends.

Also, being old and having dozens or more friends who gave birth before Dr. Drake was even a doctor, I can say for SURE that my friends have complained of unnecessary procedures performed by other doctors (without consent).

a-1655418773 Jun 16, 2022 03:32 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

"The Duchess of Sussex’s care at the facility was overseen by Dr. Melissa Drake with remote guidance from Dr. Gowri Motha in the U.K. who helped deliver her first child, Archie, at Portland Hospital in London."
Source: Vanity Fair
https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2021/06/meghan-markle-birth-plan-lilibet-security-team-give-birth-in-peace-prince-harry

Drea Jun 16, 2022 03:18 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Dr Ramos does take new patients with her NP. She took on as many patients of Drake’s OB as humanly possible.

Drake an OBGYN has a moral obligation to her obstetric patients to see them through to delivery. Quiting them was a travesty.

Deeming her a unicorn doctor was in interviews with her friends and her personal staff. That is one sided.

Stating that other doctors perform unnecessary procedures is a blatant lie and plants a seed that Drake is a victim. Untrue.

Drake was not the over seeing MD on the dutchess. She was called in last minute and she signed non disclosure paper work which apparently has been broken.

Chevy67 Jun 16, 2022 03:03 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

What's untrue? Seems a lot of people of "insider knowledge" but aren't saying anything. If something is false, spread the truth since you all seem to know it.

a-1655416925 Jun 16, 2022 03:02 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

What part is one sided? And what part is libel? No specific dr was mentioned about doing x, y, or z. Just a vague reference. Also, if you google Drake and Markle, numerous publications have published this info, including Vanity Fair.

roadrunner Jun 16, 2022 01:59 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

As far as the libelous accusations, I was referring to Ms. Stone: Stone said, explaining she is personally aware of other OB-GYNs performing procedures and administering medications without a patient’s permission. And yes I agree the author could've done a better job on finding out why she in fact closed her practice. Or maybe how about interviewing another OB/GYN in town instead of playing gotcha w/the receptionists at all the local offices.

a-1655413367 Jun 16, 2022 02:02 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

But Sansum Clinic did respond for their practice, and the 6 doctors they house. Again, how do you discover something when the dr says health reasons? If you know more, say it.

RE: Stone, How is it libel if no one is specifically named? If someone states their experience, how is it untrue? I know I've been in the hospital and more than I can count I had to ask what drug was being given to me, what is it for, etc. etc.

Sunlover Jun 16, 2022 01:56 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

It's good to see this article and learn a little about what happened after hearing about Dr. Drake, who I know was deeply appreciated by her patients. Healthcare is in serious trouble all over, not just Santa Barbara. I live in Santa Barbara now but moved recently from L.A. where it is equally as difficult to find good medical care. I'm afraid it is going to get much worse before it gets better.

bornatcottageho... Jun 16, 2022 01:28 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Truly truly unfortunate. I can attest to the validity regarding statements suggesting doctors don't work together in this field in SB. In 2014, a close personal friend lost her baby at the hands of the Santa Barbara Birth Center days before she was due leading to a Stillbirth. Dr. Ramos wouldn't touch her because of her affiliation with the birth center when she sought further help or diagnosis-there was absolutely no 'working together'. Shouldn't all doctors see to the health and safe delivery of any child? The result was horrific at best and the only somewhat bright spot was when she was admitted to cottage to deliver. They did what they could and were as caring as could be given the situation but the Birth Center failed and the reluctance of Ramos was appalling.

bornatcottageho... Jun 17, 2022 08:40 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Laurel Phillips: Was the birth center paid to deliver a baby? Yes. Was anyone from the birth center present for the birth? No. That being said, what would compel you to divulge, in graphic detail the event that transpired? You weren't there and none of your staff were there, correct? How are you privy to that very detailed information you just spat out into the universe? You ran away from this, right? You left it to true professionals to clean this up yet still demanded payment. That is what happened, nothing more, nothing less.

bornatcottageho... Jun 17, 2022 08:24 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Will add that Laurel and her (not) amazing facility were paid in full for there service and that the support post event were similar to her statement above-taking zero responsibility and running in the opposite direction as fast as they could and BLAMING the patient.

bornatcottageho... Jun 17, 2022 08:04 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

So, here is Laurel Phillips, the founder or the Santa Barbara Birth Center suggesting that a tragedy of epic proportions that was stated above is casting blame? The facts of the matter are just that, they are facts. I see no blame in the commentary and statement of facts. Those are what happened and you know that to be true. You want to reduce that to blame? Shame on you Laurel.

laurelphillips Jun 17, 2022 03:01 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Unfortunately there are very rare situations where a term baby will become tightly entangled in its cord in a way that stops blood flow, resulting in death before labor begins. This has happened once in the eleven year history of the SB Birth Center. Any obstetrician or midwife who practices long enough will encounter this very sad situation. Unfortunately there is nothing to do to prevent it.
We understand the helplessness everyone involved feels and that it can feel easier to blame.

a-1655413478 Jun 16, 2022 02:04 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Seems like that bullying claim could be true. Women are going to hire doulas and midwives, and do home births, and go to the birth center. Doctors should be there to support them, not isolate them.

sbmom4444 Jun 16, 2022 01:25 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

There is definitely more to the story and without much effort, I am sure Edhat and the Independent could have found patients willing to speak to (perhaps anonymously) different perspectives on their experience with Dr. Drake and her practice. As a former patient, I switched to a different OB for my 6-week post-birth checkup because the idea of walking into her office again was too traumatizing. From my experience, she is a skilled and kind physician but it seems that her practice just got completely out of control and the level of care patients received was subpar, at best. This article does not discuss any of the mayhem that occurred in her office before she closed it down, including randomly hiring another OB-GYN from out of town to assist but not announcing that hire to any patients so that patients went to their appointment expecting to see Dr. Drake only to have a complete (and unexplained) stranger walk into the room to perform invasive procedures/checks. Completely unacceptable.

Uncommon sense Jun 16, 2022 01:12 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

This is a big loss to the community. After a really bad experience with Sansum and Cottage (one I found out later wasn't totally unheard of) I found Dr. Drake, and it truly changed my experience and opened my eyes. There is a lack of good care is town and it is very unfortunate. Dr. Drake was the best!

Sbladyres Jun 16, 2022 12:21 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Edhat, you guys really missed the mark on this one. Your duty as journalists is to investigate and you have failed to uncover the truth behind her decision to close her practice. Instead, you have glorified her without doing the real homework.

a-1655410395 Jun 16, 2022 01:13 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

Seems like there is a lot of drama with the doctors or hospital or whoever. But is it considered "glorifying" if the patients are the ones doing the glorifying? They're really just reporting what people are saying. All of my friends had nothing but positive stuff to say. Sure there's always patients that don't agree but that's the norm for any business or professional. Hard to get that 5/5 star on Facebook.

Chevy67 Jun 16, 2022 01:03 PM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

The only person who can speak to why she closed is Dr. Drake herself, and she said health reasons. I doubt any Dr in town would be quoted on their opinions of another dr, too small and fear of retribution. If you have some clear evidence then send it to the writers, I'm sure they'd love to see it.

roadrunner Jun 16, 2022 10:45 AM
Santa Barbara’s ‘Unicorn’ OB Calls It Quits

I’ve had all my children through Sansum Clinic and just wanted to say that the OB/GYNS and support staff are some of the most caring and hardworking people I’ve ever dealt with and shout out to everybody who works in Labor & Delivery at Cottage. I know there are many out there who agree with me. I was happy they were there with me when obviously everything doesn’t go as planned during your pregnancies and there are last minute, scary, decisions being made during your course of labor by professionals who know a lot more about delivering a healthy baby than I do. Sadly, two OB practices in town have shut down in the last 6 months leaving all these pregnant women to have to find a new provider when the existing providers have been struggling to keep up with the volume as it is. My heart breaks for them. Honestly, we should be thanking all the doctors and nurses in town for keeping up with their volume of patients, especially in the never ending time of covid. If you have the time a nice letter to one of your providers would probably mean a lot to them instead of articles like this that seem to make outlandish, libelous, accusations about medical professionals.
 

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