In this episode, Founder of Enhanced Recovery After Delivery™, Dr. Rebeca Segraves, Co-Founder of Entropy Physiotherapy, Dr. Sarah Haag, Owner and Founder of Reform Physical Therapy, Dr. Abby Bales, and Co-Owner of Entropy Physiotherapy, Dr. Sandy Hilton, talk about the consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade.
Today, they talk about the importance of taking proactive measure in communities, and the legal and ethical obligations of healthcare practitioners. How do physical therapists get the trust of communities who already don’t trust healthcare?
Hear about red-flagged multipurpose drugs, advocating for young people’s education, providing physical therapy care during and after delivery, and get everyone’s words of encouragement for healthcare providers and patients, all on today’s episode of The Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast.
More about Dr. Rebeca Segraves
Rebeca Segraves, PT, DPT, WCS is a physical therapist and Board-Certified Women’s Health Clinical Specialist who has served individuals and families within the hospital and home during pregnancy and immediately postpartum.
She has extensive experience with optimizing function during long-term hospitalizations for high-risk pregnancy and following perinatal loss and pregnancy termination. In the hospital and home health settings, she has worked with maternal care teams to maximize early recovery after delivery, including Caesarean section, birth-related injuries, and following obstetric critical care interventions.
She is the founder of Enhanced Recovery After Delivery™, an obstetrics clinical pathway that maximizes mental and physical function during pregnancy and immediately postpartum with hospital and in-home occupational and physical therapy before and after birth. Her vision is that every person will have access to an obstetric rehab therapist during pregnancy and within the first 6 weeks after birth, perinatal loss, and pregnancy termination regardless of their location or ability to pay.
More About Dr. Sarah Haag
Dr. Sarah Haag, PT, DPT, MS graduated from Marquette University in 2002 with a Master of Physical Therapy. She went on to complete Doctor of Physical Therapy and Master of Science in Women’s Health from Rosalind Franklin University in 2008. Sarah has pursued an interest in treating the spine, pelvis with a specialization in women’s and men’s health, becoming a Board-Certified Women’s Health Clinical Specialist in 2009 and Certification in Mechanical Diagnosis Therapy from the McKenzie Institute in 2010.
Sarah joined the faculty of Rosalind Franklin in 2019. In her roles at Rosalind Franklin, she is the physical therapy faculty liaison for the Interprofessional Community Clinic and teaching in the College of Health Professions.
Sarah cofounded Entropy Physiotherapy and Wellness with Dr. Sandy Hilton, in Chicago, Illinois in 2013. Entropy was designed to be a clinic where people would come for help, but not feel like ‘patients’ when addressing persistent health issues.
More About Dr. Abby Bales
Dr. Abby Bales, PT, DPT, CSCS is the owner and founder of Reform Physical Therapy in New York City, a practice specializing in women’s health and orthopedic physical therapy.
Dr. Bales received her doctorate in physical therapy from New York University and has advanced training through the renowned Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute, Grey Institute, Barral Institute, and Postural Restoration Institute, among others. She also holds her Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification from the NSCA and guest lectures in the physical therapy departments at both NYU and Columbia University, as well as at conferences around the country.
Dr. Bales has a special interest in and works with adult and adolescent athletes with a history of RED-S (formerly known as the Female Athlete Triad) and hypothalamic amenorrhea. A lifelong athlete, marathon runner, and fitness professional, Dr. Bales is passionate about educating athletes, coaches, and physical therapists about the lifespan of the female athlete. Her extensive knowledge of and collaboration with endocrinologists, sports medicine specialists, pediatricians, and Ob/gyns has brought professional athletes, dancers, and weekend warriors alike to seek out her expertise.
With an undergraduate degree in both pre-med and musical theatre, a background in sports and dance, 20 years of Pilates experience and training, Dr. Bales has lent her extensive knowledge as a consultant to the top fitness studios in New York City and is a founding advisor and consultant for The Mirror and the Olympya app. She built Reform Physical Therapy to support female athletes of all ages and stages in their lives. Dr. Bales is a mom of two and lives with her husband and family in New York.
More About Dr. Sandy Hilton
Sandra (Sandy) Hilton graduated with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from Pacific University in 1988. She received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Des Moines University in 2013. Sandy has contributed to multiple book chapters, papers, and co-authored “Why Pelvic Pain Hurts”. She is an international instructor and speaker on treating pelvic pain for professionals and for public education.
Sandy is a regular contributor on health-related podcasts and is co-host of the Pain Science and Sensibility Podcast with Cory Blickenstaff.
Sandy was the Director of Programming for the Section on Women’s Health of the American Physical Therapy Association from 2012 - 2017. She is now on the board of the Abdominal and Pelvic Pain special interest group, a part of the International Association for the Study of Pain.
Healthy, Wealthy, Smart, Roe v Wade, Abortion, Trauma, Sexual Trauma, Pregnancy, Advocacy, Pelvic Health, Healthcare, Education, Treatment, Empowerment,
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LinkedIn: Sandy Hilton
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Read the Full Transcript Here:
Welcome to the healthy, wealthy and smart podcast. Each week we interview the best and brightest in physical therapy, wellness and entrepreneurship. We give you cutting edge information you need to live your best life healthy, wealthy and smart. The information in this podcast is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as personalized medical advice. And now, here's your host, Dr. Karen Litzy. Hey everybody,
welcome back to the podcast. I am your host, Karen Litzy. And on today's episode, I am very fortunate to have for pretty remarkable physical therapists who also happen to be pelvic health specialists. On to discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling in the dobs case that overturned the landmark ruling of Roe vs. Wade. How will this reversal of Roe v Wade affect the patients that we may see on a regular basis in all facets, facets of the physical therapy world. So to help have this discussion, I am very excited to welcome onto the podcast, Dr. Rebecca Seagraves and Dr. Abby bales and to welcome back to the podcast Dr. Sandy Hilton, and Dr. Sarah Hague. So regardless of where you fall on this decision, it is important that the physical therapy world be prepared to care for these patients. So I want to thank all four of these remarkable physical therapists for coming on to the podcast. Once the podcast starts, they will talk a little bit more about themselves, and then we will get right into our discussion. So thank you everyone for tuning in. And thanks to Abby, Rebecca, Sandy, and Sarah.
I, my name is Rebecca Seagraves, I'm a private practice pelvic health therapist who provides hospital based and home based pelvic health services and I teach occupational and physical therapists to provide their services earlier in the hospital so that women don't have to suffer.
Perfect Sarah, go ahead.
I am Sarah Haig. And I'm a physical therapist at entropy physiotherapy in Chicago, and I'm also assistant professor and at a university where I do get to teach a variety of health care providers.
Perfect, Abby, go ahead. My name is Abby bales. I'm a physical therapist, I specialize in pelvic health for the pregnant and postpartum athlete. I have my practice in New York City called perform physical therapy, and I do in home visits and I have a small clinic location.
Perfect and Sandy. Go ahead.
Sandy Hilton. I'm a pelvic health physical therapist. I'm currently in Chicago with Sara entropy. And I'm in Chicago and online. Because we can see people for consultations wherever they are, and we may be needing to do more of that.
So the first question I have for all of you lovely ladies, is how will the recent Supreme Court ruling in the dobs case, which was overturning Roe v. Wade? How is that going to affect people who give birth that we see in our clinics in the hospital setting in an outpatient setting in a home setting? So let's start with Sara, go ahead. I'll start with you. And then we'll just kind of go around. And and and also feel free to chime in and you know, the conversation as you see fit? Got?
That's such a big question. And I get to go first. So the question was how, how is this decision going to affect people who give birth? And I would say it just it affects everyone in in kind of different ways. Because I would say what this will undoubtedly do is result in us seeing people who didn't want to give birth. And and I think, you know, the effects of that are going to be far reaching and that we I think maybe we in this little group can have an idea of, of the vastness of this decision, but I think that even we will be surprised at what happens. I think that how it will affect people who give birth. Gosh, I'm kind of speechless because there's so many different ways. But when we're looking at that person in front of us with whatever they need to do For whatever they need assistance with after giving birth, we're going to have to just amplify exponentially our consideration for where they are and how they felt going into the birth, how they got pregnant in the first place. And, and kind of how they see themselves going forward. We talk about treating women in the fourth trimester. And it's, I mean, I'm in that fourth trimester, myself, and I can tell you that it would be harder to ask for help. And I'm really fortunate that I, that I have that I do have support, and that I do have the ability to seek help. I have a million great friends that I can reach out to for help, but I'm just how the how it's gonna affect the women, I'll say, I'm scared, but it's not about me. I'm very concerned for other women who won't be able to access the care that they that they need.
Yeah, Sandy, go ahead. What do you think? How do you feel this decision will affect people who can give birth, especially as they come to see physical therapist, whether that be during pregnancy? As Sarah just said, the fourth trimester, or perhaps after a procedure, or abortion that maybe didn't go? Well? Because it wasn't safe?
Yeah, so I work a lot with pain. One of my concerns is, but what is the future gonna hold for some people who did not want to be pregnant not added some sort of convenience or concern for finances, both of which, you know, your spot in life determines whether or not you have the the ability to raise another person at that moment. So there are individual decisions that people should make, in my opinion, but also, there's the if something happens to you, that you did not give permission to happen. And then you are dealing with the consequences. In this instance, pregnancy, and you happen to have back pain or have hip pain, or have a chronic condition, or a pelvic pain history, where you didn't not want to be pregnant. How's that going to affect the pain and the dysfunction that you're, you are already happening? And will it sensitize people to worse outcomes and recovery afterwards, because this is a, you know, there's a perceived injustice scale, I want to pull that back out. I hadn't been using it very often in the clinic just didn't seem to change the course of care. But I think that when I'm working with the people pre post, during pregnancy, I think I'm going to pull my perceived injustice scale back out and see if that might be a nice way to find out. If I need to hook someone up to a counselor, a financial counselor, psychologist, sexual therapist, anyone who might be able to support this person, we already don't have good support systems for pregnancy. I just am astounded at how much what a bad choice it is to add more need to a system that isn't currently handling the demand. I know we're gonna need to get creative because these people will need help. But I am a little awestruck at the possible quantum s we're gonna walk into
an abbey you had mentioned before we started recording about you know, some of the folks that you see that may have a history of different kinds of trauma, and how that may affect their abilities are to kind of wrap their head around being pregnant and then being forced to give birth because now they don't have any alternative. So how do you feel like that's going to play out in the physical therapy world, if they even get to physical therapy if they even get to a pelvic health therapist?
Yeah, that's, that's one of the things that I was I was thinking about as everyone was chiming in was, we really are just at the precipice in our niche of our profession, where people who give birth are seeking or even hearing about pelvic health and postpartum care, pregnancy care there. Just barely hearing about it. And my I have, you know, a concern, a very deep concern that these people will go into hiding if they have had an abortion in the past, because are we obligated to report that, and what is the statute of limitations on that, and the shame that they might feel for having had an abortion, or having had give birth and didn't want to, and the trauma that my patients who have, for the most part, not everyone who have wanted pregnancies that either the birth is traumatic, the pregnancy is traumatic, they get to a successful delivery, or they have a loss during the pregnancy, the trauma that they are experiencing, and for the most part, I'm seeing adults, and I cannot comprehend children, because it's this gonna be a lot of children who are forced to give birth, or who are having unsafe abortions, and the trauma that they're going to experience, and how, how much it takes for a person who has sexual trauma or birth trauma to get to my clinic, how these young people how these people who feel that shame, I don't know how they're going to get to me, or any of us, except for a real team based approach with pediatricians, with hospitals, with OB GYN, with your gynecologist with people who might see them first before us. I just don't know how they get to us to be able to treat and help treat that trauma. And like Sandy said, that pelvic pain that might be a result of the trauma if if it's unwanted sexual intercourse, I just don't know how we get to them. And that is something that we struggle with now, with, for the most part, wanted pregnancies. And I don't know how we get there. And I don't think we're prepared as a profession. for that. I think the advocacy for getting ourselves into pediatricians offices into into family medicine offices, is going to be so crucial in getting to these patients. But there aren't enough of us. We are not prepared. And our insurance based system is not ready to handle the far reaching consequences of forced birth at a young age and botched abortions. It is not ready to handle that.
Rebecca, go ahead. I'm curious to hear your thoughts around this because of your work in acute care systems.
Absolutely. I believe that I'm beyond the argument of whether this is right, or whether this is wrong. I think that as a profession, we're going to have to quickly change to a mindset of can we be prepared enough to handle what Abby was saying the amount of trauma, the amount of mental health I think, comes to mind when when someone's autonomy is taken away from them in any regard. I was very vocal as to how dangerous it was to force, you know, mandates on people even last year. And now here we are, we're at a point in our profession where we have to now separate our own personal beliefs and be committed to the oath of doing no further harm because this will result in harm, having treated individuals after an unplanned cesarean section or a cesarean hysterectomy, because of severe blood loss. They had no choice in those procedures. And they had no choice in the kind of recovery or rehabilitation they would get. I had to fight an advocate for our services, physical and occupational therapy services to be offered to individuals. So when you're looking someone in the eye who has lost autonomy over their body as last choice has gone through trauma that changes you it changes me really as a profession, even on this a professional or even on this issue. I'm now pivoting as quickly as I can't decide, do I have the skills that's going to be needed to address maybe hemorrhage events from an unsafe abortion that's performed? Maybe the mental health of having to try All across state lines so that you can find a provider that will treat you maybe the, you know, the shame around, you know, even finding Well, you know, is there a safe space for me to be treated for my pelvic health trauma from you know, maybe needing to carry this pregnancy longer than then I would have wanted to, there's, there's so much around this that we really have to start looking at with a clinical eye with a very empathetic or sympathetic eye as pelvic health therapists because of the fact that there's so few of us. And because now we're in a scenario where there will be more people who will be needing services but not knowing who to turn to. So my my biggest hope from this conversation, and many more that we'll have is that there's some how going to be a way to designate ourselves as a safe space for anyone, no matter what choice they've made for their body, period, I'm really done with being on one end of the spectrum with this, I'm a professional that doesn't have that opportunity to just, you know, be extreme on this, I advocate for the person and for their choice over their body period.
I think we need to, and it's just beautifully, beautifully said, the the getting getting some small systemic procedures in place in the communities we live in, is most likely the first step is reach out to the pediatricians and the chiropractors and the massage therapists and the trainers and the school athletic trainers and whoever you find that can have a connection with people and let them know on an individual basis. So like how do you tell people hey, I'm a trustworthy clinic to come to is not usually by writing it on your website. But if you can make connections in your community and be a trusted provider, that's going to go further, I suspect. I'm assuming there's going to be a fair bit of mistrust. And we have to earn it once it's lost. We've got to earn it back. So yeah, I like the proactiveness of that.
I, I totally agree on something you said Sandy sparked something that I would love for a health care lawyer to start weighing in on is we want, I am a safe space. I think every patient I have ever met who sees me cries. And I hold I hold that part of what I do. Very close to me, it's it's an honor to be someone that my patients open up to. And I know all of you on this call feel the same way because we we are that place that they they I love hearing birth stories. I love it. Even it just gives me an insight into that person into that experience. I feel like I'm there with them. And I understand better what they have gone through. But what happens when the legal system is going to come for us? Or them through us? What happens to that? How do we continue to be a safe space where they can share their sexual trauma, their birth trauma, their birth history, their pregnancy history, their menstruation, history, their sexual history? All of those really, really intimate things? How do we continue to be that for our patients?
I think we've had to do this I've had to do this previously, for in some very, in situations of incest in for the most part, we need a trigger warning on this. But, you know, there you have an individual that is a minor, or, or for some reason not independent that is being abused in what is supposed to be their safe space. And then that person, the abuser can be like, Oh, look, I'm helping you get better. And they're actually not safe. So there's some things and if the person you're treating is a minor, that adult has access to their records. And so I've worked in places not I don't know how to do with an EMR but I've worked in places where we have our chart that we write down the official record and sticky notes, which are the things that will not get put in the official record. But we need to have written down so people know it. And we've had to do that in situations where the patient wasn't safe. We all knew the patient wasn't safe. was being worked on to get them safe, but they were not yet safe. And you had to make sure there was nothing in their records that was going to make them more unsafe. I don't know how to do it as an EMR, if someone has a clever way to do that, that'd be great. Or we go back to EMR plus paper charts.
Even to to add to your point, Abby, if we're looking now at possible, you know, jurisdiction, you know, lead legal their jurisdiction or subpoena of documentation, you know, after having intervened for someone who may have had to make a choice that their state did not condone? Yeah, no, I, I'm completely, you know, on guard against that now, and that those are things that I'm thinking about now and thinking about, well, what would my profession do? Would we back, you know, you know, efforts on Capitol Hill to advocate for, you know, someone who, who has lost their, their autonomy, or lost their ability to, to at least have a safer procedure, and we've had to intervene in that way. You know, I think about that now, and I, that makes me fearful that this is such a hot topic issue that, you know, we might not as an organization want to choose size, but we as professionals on the ground as pelvic health therapists, I don't think that we have that luxury and turning someone away. And so So yeah, I think more conversations like this need to be had so that we can form a unified front of at least, you know, pelvic health specialists that can really help with the the after effects of this.
And I think a big barrier to that legal aspect of it is, you know, what is our legal responsibility. And what happens, if we don't do XYZ is because a lot of the laws and a lot of these states, some of these trigger laws and other laws being that are being passed, the rules seem to be a bit murky. They're not clear. And so I agree, I think the APTA or the section on pelvic health needs to come out with clear guidelines as to what we as healthcare professionals, can and should do. But here's the other thing that I don't understand and maybe someone else can. What about HIPAA? Isn't that a thing? Where did the HIPAA laws come in to protect the privacy between the provider and the patient? And I don't know the answer that I'm not a lawyer, but we have protection through hip isn't that the point of a HIPAA HIPAA laws? I don't know what
you would think so. But unfortunately, one of the justices who shall not be named has decided that abortion does not fall under HIPAA, because it involves the life of another being in so I can only state what has been stated or restate. But yes, the those are the very things that I'm afraid we're up against as professionals.
Yeah, I think they're going to try to make us mandatory reporters. for it. I think they're gonna try to make all healthcare we are mandatory. For some things, the thing that's good for some things. Yeah, the
thing that bothers me about that is the where I'm in Illinois right now, Illinois is a designated, look, we're not, we're not going to infringe on people's right to health care. Just great. But some of the laws and I've lost track, I was trying to keep track of how many have are voting on or have already voted on laws that would have civil penalties, penalties of providers from other states, regardless of the Practice Act of that provider, to be able to have a civil lawsuit against that provider. So that's fun. And then we go back to what ABBY You had mentioned before we started recording about medicine, that that is considered an abort efficient, I have a really hard time with that word. But that is also used for other conditions that we see in our clinics for pain for function and things like that. And then where's our role?
Right, so does someone want to talk about these more specific on what those medications are and what they're for? So that people listening are like, Okay, well, what medications, you know, so do you want to kind of go into maybe what those medications are, what they're for and how they tie back into our profession. Because, you know, a lot of people will say, well, this isn't our lane. So we're trying to do these podcasts. so people understand it's very much within our lane.
Well, I yeah, it's just from a pharmacology standpoint, the one of the probably most popular well known drugs that's used for abortion is under the generic name of Cytotec misoprostol, and that's a drug that's not only only used for abortion, but if individual suffers a miscarriage is used to help with retained placenta and making sure that the uterus clears. What other people don't know is is also used for induction. So the same drug is used for three or four different purposes. It's also used for postpartum hemorrhage. So measle Postel, or Cytotec is a drug as pelvic health therapists we should be very familiar with. And we should be familiar with it. Not only you know, for, you know, this this topic, but it's also been a drug that's been linked with the uterus going into hyperstimulation. So actually putting someone at risk for bleeding too heavily. And all of this has a lot of implications on someone's mental health, who's suffered a miscarriage who's gone through an abortion that maybe was not safely performed, which I have had very close experience with someone who's been given misoprostol Cytotec, it didn't take well, she continued bleeding through the weekend, because she lived in a state where emergency physicians could opt out of knowing a board of medications. So as professionals, we do need to know, a board of procedures so that we can recognize when someone has been through an unsafe situation it is, it is our oath as metal as medical professionals to know those things, not to necessarily have a stance on those things that will prevent us from providing high quality and safe care.
Another one of the medications is methotrexate, and it's used to treat inflammatory bowel disease. And as public health specialists, we'd see people who have IBD, Crohn's and Colitis, who have had surgery who are in flareups who are being treated like that treated with that medication. And it is again used in in abortions. And when you're on that medication, you have to take pregnancy tests in order to still be able to get your prescription for that medication. And as a person who I myself have inflammatory bowel disease and have been on that medication before, I can tell you that you don't go on those medications lightly. It is you are counseled when you are of an age where you could possibly get pregnant, and taking those medications. And it's very serious to take them. And you also have to get to a certain stage of very serious disease in order to take that it's not the first line of defense. So if we start removing medications, or they start to be red flagged on EMRs, or org charts, and we become mandatory reporters for seeing that medication, God forbid, on someone's you know, they're when they're telling us what type of medications they're taking, that there would be an inquiry into that for for any reason is just it's it's horrifying. I mean, it's, we treat these patients and they trust us, and we want them to trust us. But as we get farther and farther down this rabbit hole of, of going after providers, pharmacists, people who help give them information to go to a different state, I just it is. Like I said before, the breadth and the depth of this decision, reverberates everywhere. And if if PTS think that they are in orthopedic clinics, that they are somehow immune from it, you're absolutely not. And for those clinics who have taken on or encourage one of their one of their therapists to take on women's health because it's now a buzz issue. It's really cool. You are now going to see that in your clinic. And you know, like Rebecca was saying before, you know any number of us who have really strong and long term relationships with patients who are pregnant who are in postpartum I have intervened and sent patients to the hospital on the phone with them because they have remnants of conception and they have a fever and someone's blowing them off and not letting them into the IDI and sending them home. And we we are seeing those patients, they have an ectopic they're, they're bleeding, is it normal, they're calling me they're not calling their OB they can't get their OB on the phone. They're texting me and saying what should I do? And they have that trust with me and what happens when they don't? And they're bleeding and they're not asking someone that question and they don't know where to go for help. And so I know I took this in a different direction and we talked about pharmacology, but I just thing that I have those patients whose lives I have saved by sending them to the emergency department, because they are sick, they have an infection, they are bleeding, they have an ectopic, it is not normal. And I don't know what happens when they no longer have that trust with us not not because we're not trustworthy, but because they're scared.
The heavy silence of all of us going
you know, it's, it's not wrong. And I think the like, it just keeps going through my head. It's just like, so what do we do? I mean, Karen, you mentioned like, it'd be great if somebody came out with a list of, of guidance for us. And I just, that just won't happen. Because there's different laws in different states, different practice acts in different states. And no one, you know, like you even if you talk to a lawyer, they're going to say, this would be the interpretation. But also, as of yet, there's no like case law, to give us any sort of any sort of guidance. So that was a lot of words to say, it's really hard. I can tell you in Illinois, like two or three weeks ago, I'd be like, like, I'm happy, I feel like Illinois is a pretty safe space. We have, we have elections for our governor this year. And I have never been so worried, so motivated to vote. And so motivated to to really make sure to talk to people about it's not just like this, this category or this category, it's like we really need to take into consideration the ramifications of what this will do, I think there was a lot of this probably won't affect me a whole lot. But I think I'm guessing I think a lot of us on this call maybe I think all of us on all of us on this call, have lived our lives with Roe v. Wade. And, as all of this is coming up, and just thinking about how it impacts so many people, and how our healthcare system is already doing not a good job of taking care of so many people, the fact that we would do this with no, no scientific, back ground, no support scientifically. Like I pulled up the ACOG statement, and, and they condemn this devastating decision. And I really, I was like, it gave me gave me goosebumps. And this was referred to in our art Association's statement. And it makes me sad that we didn't condemn it. Hope that's not too political. But I'm really sad that we didn't take a stronger stance to say, this is not good health care. And we need to do more. Again, and that's like, again, so many words, to say we're gonna have to make up our own minds, we're gonna have to know, our rules, our laws and what we're willing to do, and go through, so that we can provide the care that we know our patients deserve. And that's going to be really hard. Because, you know, if I talk to someone, and if I call Rebecca in Washington State, she's going to have something different than if I talk to Abby in New York. And you know, that so it'll be, it'll be really hard even to find that support. That support there's going to be so much support, I think, from this community, but that knowledge and that, that confidence, we have to pull together so we have to pull together with all the other providers, but also we're gonna have to sit down and figure this out to
the clarity. So it's, I think a practical step forward would be each state to get get, like, every state, come up with a thing. So pelvic health therapists in that state come up with what seems to work for them get a lovely healthcare lawyer to to work with them with it. And then we could have a clearinghouse of sorts of all of the state statements. I don't know that that needs to go through a particular organization. I I know that they're in the field of physical therapy, two thirds of PTS aren't members. And we need this information to be out there for every single person so that they know
that we'll have to be grassroots there's I don't think that there's going to be widespread Association support from anywhere. But that being said, I think it's a great idea.
What are we going to do about it? Hang on issues that are too divisive, you're absolutely right, individual entities are going to have to take this on and just put those resources out to therapists who need them need the legal support, need the need to know how and how to circumvent issues in their states. And, you know, like I said before, even how to just provide that emotional support, there's going to be needed for their, their, their patients, so, and that's okay, if the organizations that were part of are not willing to take a heavy stance, you know, even like last year, if you're not willing to take a heavy stance, on an issue where someone feels their autonomy, and their choice is being threatened, then it's okay, well, we'll take it from here. But, you know, that's, that's really where these grassroots efforts come from and abound, because there are a group of individuals who are willing to say, No, this is wrong. And I'm going to do something about this so that our future generations don't have to suffer.
Yeah, and I think, you know, we're really looking at the criminalization of health care.
That is not healthcare.
And we also know who this criminalization of healthcare is going to affect the most. And it's going to affect poor, marginalized people of color, it is not going to affect the wealthy white folks in any state, they'll be fine. So how do we, as physical therapist, deal with that? How do we, how do we get the trust of those communities who already don't trust health care, so now they're going to stay away even more, we already have the highest mortality, maternal mortality rates in the developed world, I can only imagine that will get worse because people, as we've all heard today are going to be afraid to seek health care. So where do we go from here as health care providers? I,
Karen, you're speaking something that's very near and dear to my heart, I act as if you had to take this on, I am very adamant that we can no longer choose to stay in our lane, we do not have that luxury. And I as a black female, you know, physical therapist, I don't have the luxury to ignore that because of the color of my skin, and not my doctor's degree, not my board certification and women's health, you know, not my faculty position, I when I walk into a hospital, and I either choose to give birth or have a procedure, I will be judged by none other than the color of my skin. That is what the data is telling me is that I am three times likely to have a very severe outcome. If I were to have a pregnancy that did not go as planned or or don't choose a procedure, you know, that affects the rest of my function in my health. And so given the data on this, you're absolutely right there, there is going to be very specific populations that are going to receive the most blowback from this. And as a pelvic health therapist, I had to go into the hospital to find them, because I knew that people of color and of marginalized backgrounds, were not going to find me in my clinic. And we're not going to pay necessarily private pay services to receive that care. But I needed to go where they were most likely to be and that was the hospital setting or in their home. And so, again, as a field of a very dispersed and you know, not very many of us at all, we're going to have to pivot into these areas that we were not necessarily comfortable in being if we're going to address the populations that are going to be most affected by the decisions our lawmakers are making for our bodies.
You know, there's something that I think about, often when I hear this type of conversation come up in, in sexual health and in in whenever I am speaking with one of my patients and talking about their menstruation history, and, and them not knowing how their body works from such a young age is I just wonder if we should be offering programs for young people like very young pre ministration you know, people with uteruses and their parents, and grandparents and online, online like little anonymous. Yep. nonnamous
for it's just
Yes. Yes, it's it's just, you know, Andrew Huberman talks a lot about having data Back to free content that scientific, that's factual. And I think about that a lot. And I think, to my mind, where I go with this, because I do think about the lifespan of a person, is that creating something that someone can access anonymously at any age, and then maybe creating something where it's offered at a school? You know, it's it's ministration health. And it doesn't have to be under the guise of, you know, this happened with Roe v. Wade, but this it could be menstruation, health, what is a person who menstruating what can you expect? What you know, and going through the lifespan with them, but offering them? You know, I think I think about this with my own children, as our pediatrician always asks the question of the visit, who is allowed to see under your clothes who is allowed to touch you? And it's like, you and my, I have a five year old. So it's Mom, when when when I go number two, a mom or dad when I go number two? And that's it. And you know, I think about that, and I think about how we can educate young people on a variety of things within this topic, and kind of include other stuff, too, that's normal, not normal, depending on their age. Absolutely, there
was what I was excited about in pelvic health. Before this was people like Frank to physician and his PhD students and postdocs are working on a series of research about how if we identify young girls that are starting their period, and having painful periods, treat them and educate them, then that they will not go on to have as much pelvic pain conditions and issues in the future. So we look at the early childhood events kind of thing, but also period pain. And How exciting would it be if we could get education to young girls about just how their bodies work. And to know that just because you all your aunties have horrible periods doesn't mean that you're stuck with this, just like maybe they just didn't know, let's help you out and constipation information and those basic health self care for preventative problems. So I was super excited about all that. And now it's like, oh, now we have to do it. Because in that we can do little pieces of information. So people have knowledge about their body, that's going to be a little bit of armor for them, that they're going to need and free and available in short, and you know, slide it past all the YouTube sensors. This is this is doable, but it's gonna take time money doing, but we can do it. Well, it sounds like, ladies,
we've got a lot of work to do. One other thing I wanted to touch upon. And we've said this a couple of times, but I think it's worth repeating again and again and again. And that's that expanding out to other providers. So it's expanding out, as Rebecca said, expanding out to our colleagues in acute care, meaning you can see someone right after a procedure right after birth right after a C section. And, and sadly, as we were saying, I think we they may start seeing more women, I'm not even set children under the age of 18. In these positions of force birth on a skeletally immature body. So the only place to reach these children would be maybe in that acute care setting. How what does the profession need to do in order to make that happen? And not not shy away from it, but give them the information that they need. Moving forward?
I was just gonna say that I've given birth in the hospital twice. Not at any time was I offered a physical therapist, or did a physical therapist come by and I am in New York City. I gave birth in New York City, planned Solarians because of my illnesses. And nobody came by I did get lactation nurses, any manner of people who were seeing me I was on their service. But that has been something that we needed anyway. We mean to have a pelvic health physio on the labor and delivery and on the maternity floors, who is coming by educating as to what they can start with what they can expect. When can they have an exam if they want to have one? Who is a trusted provider for them to have one. And we need to get the hospitals to expand acute care, physical therapy to labor and delivery and, and the maternity floors. As a routine, it's not something you should have to call for, it should be routine clearance for discharge the same way you have to watch the shaking baby video to get discharged.
I'm happy older than all of you. I don't have it either. But taking baby video is not something that even existed back in the day. But that makes sense. I mean, I once upon a time was a burn therapist, and I was on call at a regional Trauma Center. And you know, it's like you're needed your, your pager goes off, because that's how long ago it was. And you just came in, did your thing, went back home went back to bed. There is no reason other than lack of will, that PTS couldn't be doing that right now.
I'm now of the opinion where it's unethical to not offer physical or occupational therapy within 24 to 48 hours of someone who had no idea who did not have a planned delivery the way they expected it who has now and a massively long road to recovery. After a major abdominal surgery, I'm now of the opinion that is unethical for our medical systems to not offer that those rehabilitative services. And I've treated individuals who had a cesarean section but suffered a stillbirth. So the very thought of not providing services to someone who has any kind of procedure that's affecting, you know, their their their not only their pelvic health, but their mental function. That to me is now given the you know, these these, this recent decision on overturning Roe v Wade, is now now we're never, you know, either we're going to now pivot again as pelvic health therapists and start training our acute care colleagues, as we did with our orthopedic colleagues, as we've done with, you know, our neurology colleagues, whatever we've had to do as pelvic health therapists to bring attention to half of the population, you know, who are undergoing procedures, and they're not being informed on how to recover, we will have to start educating and kind of really grow beyond just the clinics and beyond what we can do in our community or community. But we are going to have to start educating our other colleagues in these other settings, we don't have a choice, we know too much, but we can't be everywhere. And not all of us can be in the hospital setting, we're going to have to train the individuals who are used to seeing anything that walks through the door and tell them get over to the obstetric unit. Okay, there's someone there waiting for you.
Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, when I think back I remember as a student working in acute care and how we had someone who's dedicated to the ICU, we had someone dedicated to the medical floor, we had somebody who was dedicated to the ortho floor, and most of the time they had their OCS, their, their, the one for for, for ICU care, the one for NeuroCare, or they have a specialty. And I think it is just remnants of the bygone era of it's natural, your body will heal kind of BS from the past. It's just remnants of that and it's just, we don't need the APTA to give us permission to do this, this is internal, this is I'm going into a hospital, and I'm presenting you with a program. And here is what this what you can build this visit for here's the ICD 10 code for this visit here is here is here are two people who are going to give you know, one seminar to all of your PT OTs, to you know, so that you are aware of what the possible complications and when to refer out and that kind of thing. And then here are two therapists who are acute care therapists who are going to also float to the maternity floor one of them every day, so that we can hit the we can get to these patients at that point, and that is just that's just people who present a program who have an idea, who get it in front of the board that that it is not permission from anybody else to do it. And, you know, it really it fires me up to to create a world in which you know, when you know people who are the heads of departments and chairs and you know on the boards of directors You know, being in big, big cities or small cities, when you know those people, you know, you can, your passion can fire them up. And if you can fire people up, and you can advocate for your patients and you can in that can spread, you can make that happen. And this is, you know, I feel radicalized by this, I mean, I'm burning my bra all over the place with this kind of thing. And I just feel like, if we can, if we can get to young people, and if we can get to day zero, of delivery, day one, post delivery, or post trauma, then then maybe we can make a dent, maybe we can, maybe we can try, maybe we can really make a go of this for these people. Because, like I keep feeling and saying I, we are not prepared for the volume.
If individuals are going to be forced to carry a pregnancy, that they may not want to turn because it's affecting their health, we're going to have to be prepared for this. Again, this is not an option really, for us as pelvic health therapists, because we know what's down the road, we've seen mothers who have or you know, or individuals who have suffered strokes or preeclampsia or seizures, or, you know, honestly, long term health issues because of what pregnancies have done to their body. And now if they want the choice to say, you know, I'm not ready, they don't have it anymore. So we really don't have a choice. We have to start expanding our services into these other settings, making our neurologic clinical specialists in the hospital, see people before they have a stroke before they have a seizure actually provide services that can help someone monitor their own signs and symptoms after they've had now a procedure or given birth or even had, you know, a stillbirth, unfortunately, because the doctor had to decide, well, yes, now we will perform the abortion because you know, your health is like on the cliff, I mean, we're going to be seeing these and we just have to prepare. And if it's not our organizations that are laying the foundations, we will, we'll take it from here,
we need to reach out across so many barriers, like athletic trainers, they're gonna see the young girls, they're gonna see their track stars that is not reds, it's pregnancy. And it could be a very short lived traumatic pregnancy, in girls that are just not develop. They're developed enough to get pregnant, they're not developed enough to carry a healthy baby to term. Kind of just makes me like. But Rebecca is right as we don't get to have an opinion on the right or wrongness of this, we have a problem ahead of us now, that that is happening already, as we speak, that people are going to need help. I love that we have more technology than my grandma did when she was fighting this battle. And we have YouTube and we have podcasts and we have ways to get information out. But we need to use every single one of them in our sports colleague or athletic trainer colleagues. They need to know the signs. Because they may be the ones that see it first.
Yeah. And Sarah as being the most recent new mother here. What kind of care did you get when you were in the hospital?
I was sitting here thinking about that. And I mean, I will say that the care I had while I was there, that I had an uncomplicated delivery in spite of a very large baby. And I was fortunate enough to leave the hospital without needing additional help. But I wasn't offered physio. Nobody really they're just really curious to make sure you're paying enough. And that's about it if you're the mom and my six week visit was actually telehealth and that was the last time I had contact with a health care professional regarding my own health so it is minimal even if you're a very fortunate white woman in a large metropolitan area and but I'm working now further north and with a pro bono clinic clinic and in an area where we do a lot of work with communities of color and I'm I'm like I honestly don't even know the hospitals up here yet. But I'm gonna I have so many post it notes of things that are gonna start happening and start inquiring because Rebecca like we need to get into the hospitals like if if I can Do that. And honestly, up until now, like my world and entropy was, and pre this decision was it, there's so many people out there who need help with pelvic issues in general, like we can do this forever. And we set our clinic up so that people who weren't doing well in the traditional health care system could find us and afford us. At least some people could, I realized that it wasn't in companies, encompassing everybody who could possibly need help, but we were doing trying to figure out another way. And so again, like, like, again, the offer of assistance I got was minimal. But also I didn't need much. And I was in a position where also, I knew I could, I could ask for it if I wanted it. And I could probably get it if I needed it. And I'm just thinking about, again, some of the communities I'm interacting with now, in some of my other roles and responsibilities, and I cannot wait to take a look and see, how can we get in there? How can we be on that floor? How can we? What What can we make, make happen like, because it needs to happen, these are these, this is the place where I'm scared to start seeing the stats,
wouldn't it be amazing if you can get the student clinic part of that somehow somehow and get, you know, young beyond that bias, but younger, most younger but but like the physicians the the in training the PTs and training the PAs the you know, and get like Rebecca had said, let's get let's get the team up to speed here, because there aren't enough pelvic health therapists already. And they're heavens, we need, we need to get everybody caught up.
And there's so much I was telling you that being around student health care, providing your future health care providers is really energizing and also really interesting. I mean, the ideas that come up with in the in the connections they make and and the proposals they make are just amazing. But two things that I've noticed that I think probably we run into in the real world, real world, outside school world as well, is one. The that's being able to have enough people and enough support to keep it sustainable. So you have this idea, you have the proposal, you made the proposal, how are we going to keep it going and finding the funding or the energy or the volunteers to keep it going. Things ebb and flow, you get a great proposal, you're like yes. And then I literally today was like, I wonder what's up with that one, because it was an idea for a clinic to help was basically for trans people to our tree transitioning and might not have the support that they need. And also I was reached, they come up here for women's health clinic. And I'm going to reach out to them now. Because this again, this decision changes that because it is a pro bono clinic that they would like to set this up in and before it was going to be much more more wellness. And now it could turn out to be essential health care. So that's one thing. But then the other thing is still the education, that in school, we're not taught about what everyone else can do. And I think again, figuring out a way to make sure that future physicians really know what physical therapists have to offer, especially in this space. Most people know that if their their shoulder, their rotator cuff repair, they should send them to pt. But really, we need to get in with OB GYN news, we need to get in with the pediatricians. And I don't want to say unfortunately, but in this regard, unfortunately, we're going to have to really make sure that they know what we're doing. And again, I'm already kind of trying to think like how can we make this just part of how we do health care.
So I think I'm following in your footsteps by going into education and by by being a part of our doctor of physical therapy programs. You know, I especially chose the program in Washington state not because you know, of just the the the opportunity to teach doctors or incoming doctors but it was also an opportunity to teach doctors of osteopathic medicine and occupational therapy therapists. It was you know, very intimate program and opportunity to make pelvic health or women's health or reproductive health apart of cardiopulmonary content, a part of neurology content, a part of our foundations a part of musculoskeletal and not a special elective course that we get two days of training on, I had the opportunity to literally insert our care, our specialized and unique care and every aspect of the curriculum, as it should be, because we are dealing with, you know, more or less issues that every therapist generalists or specialists should be equipped to handle. So in the wake of Roe v Wade, to me, this is an opportunity unlike any other for pelvic health therapists to really get into these educational spaces where incoming doctors are, you know, MDS or PA programs, or NP programs are our therapy practices, and start where students are most riled up and having those ideas so that they can go out and become each one of us, you know, go into hospitals and say no, to obstetric units being ignored, go into hospitals and give and services to physicians. You know, we need to create more innovators in our field and education is the way to do that.
I just wrote down check Indiana and Ohio, and then I wrote border clinics, because Because Illinois is a it's like a not a prohibition state. Having so many flashbacks, because Illinois, is, is currently dedicated to maintaining health care access for everyone. We have cities that are on the border. And I was thought of that when you were talking, Sarah, because you're up next to Wisconsin now. But we have we have the southern part of the state and the western part of the state. And those those border towns are going to have a higher influx than I will see in Chicago, maybe. But I would anticipate that they would,
you know, and again, this is where laws are murky. Every state is different. It's I mean, it's a shitshow. For lack of better way of putting it I don't think there's any other way to put it at this point. Because that's kind of what what we're dealing with because no one's prepared, period. So as we wrap things up, I'll go around to each of you. And just kind of what do you want the listeners to take away? Go ahead, Sandy,
this is this is frustrating and new, and we're not going to abandon you. We're gonna figure it out and be there to help.
I would say that our clinics are still safe, it is still a safe place for you to open up and tell us what you wouldn't tell anybody else. It's still safe with us. And we still have you as an entire person with all of your history. We are still treating you based on what you are dealing with and not. We will not be dictated by anybody else. Our care won't be mandated or dictated by anybody. Sarah, go ahead.
What I would say is I would echo your safe. If you need help, there is help. And I'm sorry, that that this just made it harder than it already was. And I would say to healthcare providers, please let remember, let us remember why we're doing what we're doing. And, you know, we do need to stand up, we do need to continue to provide the best care for our patients. Because to be honest, I've been thinking like, I think it's a legal question. It's a professional question. But ultimately, if we can't give the best care possible, I'm not sure I should do this.
for our health care providers, in the wake of Roe v. Wade, being overturned, wherever we are, you know, as an organization or on our stance, if we believed in the autonomy of an individual to know all of the information before making a decision, then we still believe in the autonomy of an individual to know all of the information that is best for their body. And that is the oath that's the that's the that's the promise that we've made as professionals to people that we're serving, and to the people that we're serving to those who are there listening to this. You have safe spaces with providers that you trust and we're going to continue to educate one another, our field and also you we're going to put together resources that really bring During this education to your families so that you don't have to feel like you're in the dark and you're alone. This is not something that is per individual or per person. This affects everyone. And we're dedicated to advocating for you.
Perfect, and on that we will wrap things up. Thank you ladies so much for a really candid and robust discussion. I feel like there are lots to do. I think we've got some, some great ideas here. And perhaps with some help and some grassroots movements, we can turn them into a reality. So thank you to Rebecca to Sarah to Abby and to Sandy, for taking the time out of your schedules because I know we're all busy to talk about this very important topic. So thank you all so so much, and everyone thanks so much for listening, have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.
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