Even if it’s the doctor’s duty to inform his or her patient of every detail regarding pregnancy, it’s not his duty to decide for the patient.
In May, 2014, a 35-year-old mother of three underwent a C-section when she wanted a vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC). The consensus of doctors and medical experts believe that VBAC is the better option due to its more streamlined procedure and faster recovery time. A C-section, on the other hand, is deemed necessary in situations like a large fetus.
The mother gave birth to her third child at Staten Island University Hospital but sued the latter for negligence, malpractice, and lack of informed consent. Medical ethics support her case, in which the customer is always right, even if doctors have a strong case to believe otherwise. The doctor can do everything in his power to argue his stand, but ultimately he must yield to the patient.
There’s a more serious side to the issue on forced C-sections, however. The National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a New York-based nonprofit, says doctors can take the matter to court and force the mother to consent as a medical necessity. One of the reasons for these somewhat rash decisions is fear of malpractice lawsuits.
Should a mother delay any lifesaving operation with gusto, any implication would fall on her, at least in previous cases. This includes possible murder and child abuse charges.
The issue today walks a tightrope, but bioethicists believe the “patient is always right” mantra still stands. Women in a similar predicament can ask New York birth injury lawyers like Joseph Lichtenstein for legal help. Doctors must be reminded of the dangers of C-sections, especially if done too frequently.
Many New York City birth injury lawyers can challenge such court orders; for one, court judges aren’t medical experts, even with info from expert witnesses. Second, even with a high success rate, C-sections also carry high morbidity rates. Would you rather prefer to leave your and your child’s health to a licensed doctor than the judicial system?
Pennsylvania native Amber Marlowe did just that in 2004. After being pressured to give birth via a C-section, she moved to another hospital where she delivered a healthy girl via natural birth. She wasn’t made aware of the court order filed by the previous hospital after her delivery. Indeed, it’s a tightrope for a reason.
(Source: “Woman Sues Staten Island University Hospital Over Alleged Forced C-Section,” CBS New York)