Important home birthing equipment stolen from Kingston midwife

Community Midwives of Kingston clinic, located at 391 Barrie Street. Photo via Community Midwives Kingston website.

A member of the Community Midwives of Kingston is hoping for the safe return of valuable equipment that was stolen earlier this week. On the morning of Tuesday, May 23, 2023, Sarah Chisholm discovered that two bags containing $7,000 worth of important home birth equipment had been stolen from her car on Colborne Street, a block away from the Community Midwives of Kingston clinic on Barrie Street. 

“It was my complete home birth [kit] and my postpartum and prenatal equipment,” Chisholm said of the two bags’ contents. While the equipment would be of little use to the general public, she noted that the tools are critical to her work as a midwife. “[As] midwives, we do home births, so we essentially carry mini hospitals to people’s homes. [The bags] included things like resuscitation equipment for infants… IV materials for emergencies, birthing equipment, blood pressure cuffs, [and] stethoscopes.” 

An ‘Iron Duck’ bag like the one pictured here is one of two bags stolen from a Kingston-based midwife overnight from Monday, May 22 to Tuesday, May 23, 2023. Submitted image.

Anyone in or near the McBurney Park (Skeleton Park) area near downtown Kingston is asked to be on the lookout for two large “Iron Duck” medical bags, which contained Chisholm’s equipment. Sadly, this is not the first time a local midwife has had equipment stolen; in 2019, a midwife with Community Midwives of Kingston had an important piece of equipment stolen that, like Chisholm’s, would be next to useless for the general public.

In addition to the birthing materials, Chisholm said a bicycle trailer was stolen from her front porch the same night, meaning whoever took the items “had a really lovely carrier to haul the stuff in.” While she said she does not care so much about the bike trailer because it is easily replaceable, “it’s the medical equipment that is very frustrating [to lose].”  

As for how the theft has impacted her work as a midwife, Chisholm said she’s had to rely on other midwives to lend her equipment in order to carry out her home visits.

“It means I have to ask my colleagues for equipment, and I have to go source new equipment, which can take time,” she said.

While many of the items were Chisholm’s own personal tools, some of the stolen equipment belonged to the local clinic, and the loss could lead to negative outcomes for the already stressed community health organization.

“Some of this stuff was supplied by the clinic. We are community care workers; we are the only people in the community who offer home birth, and we do a [one]-week postpartum visit for everybody who delivers with us. [The stolen tools] are all… vital to our job to make sure that moms and babies are safe in the postpartum period, and to do all our essential checkups,” remarked Chisholm. 

The other bag stolen from local midwife Sarah Chisholm was also an ‘Iron Duck’ brand, like the one pictured here. Submitted image.

If the equipment isn’t returned soon, Chisholm will likely have to secure new materials herself and will be responsible for the expense.

“I’m hoping my equipment will come back, but I’m [currently] trying to source new stuff, [which] takes time to ship. I have to make a big list and see if I can find things used because we get funding when we graduate, but I’m not going to get funding again, so the replacements have to come out of pocket,” she said. 

Anyone who finds Chisholm’s equipment or has information on its whereabouts is asked to call Community Midwives of Kingston at 613-544-7127. The clinic can also be reached via email at [email protected]. Chisholm has also filed a report with Kingston Police, who encourage anyone who may find or see the equipment to contact them at 613-549-4660. Tips can also be made anonymously to police by calling 613-549-4660 ext. 0 and requesting to remain anonymous.

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