In 2011 a woman with two prior cesareans named Rinat Dray was forced to have a cesarean at Staten Island University Hospital in New York. She sued the hospital and two physicians for ‘improperly substituting their judgement for that of the mother’ and ‘pressuring and threatening her.’ During the course of her lawsuit, it was revealed that this hospital had a secret forced cesarean policy. When I learned about this policy, I was shocked. Yes, forced cesareans happen. They are woven into the culture of some hospitals as are other forms of obstetric violence. But to have a formal, written policy saying that it was OK?
A VBAC study out of Canada reported, “Absolute rates of severe maternal morbidity and mortality were low but significantly higher after attempted vaginal birth after cesarean delivery compared with elective repeat cesarean delivery.” After reading the abstract, and full text, I could quickly see how this study will be misinterpreted by many, so let me walk you through it.
I came across this story from a nurse and I wanted to share with you. First because it’s an amazing story illustrating how nurses can help birthing parents avoid a primary cesarean. And second, because we can all use some good news.
“I need to ask a favor from anyone who 1) had a vaginal breech birth in the hospital, 2) had one at home because that was your only option, or 3) was pressured into a cesarean because it was not an option due to hospital policy or lack of experience of attendant. I am getting a lot of pressure to stop attending breech and despite my best efforts to get privileges at a tertiary care hospital with neonatology, it is not happening. Please send your impassioned pleas and experiences to Sutter Davis Hospital 2000 Sutter Pl Davis CA 95616 Thanks!”
Last week, I shared the eleven things that I love about ACOG’s latest VBAC guidelines. And with good reason. There’s some excellent new language as well as reiterations of positions that they presented back in 2010. But there are a few places where ACOG misses the mark and these are the three areas that gave me the most concern.