Bad Science, Bad Medicine, Bad Luck

I am actually enraged this morning, and I have been since last night. It's just no good any more to pretend to be kind old Mrs Tiggy Winkle, and watch women being abused over, and over, and over again in our worn out medical system.

A few weeks ago, I witnessed a natural, speedy delivery. The woman was effectively pushing in a supported squat. Enter the doctor, who cannot catch a baby from underneath and pressures the woman to lie down. A small shoulder dystocia develops. Doc pulls on the head like there's no tomorrow and breaks the baby's collar bone.

That same week, a foreign lady let me know that an OB at the same hospital has been charging her $100 cash for each prenatal. Here in Canada, that is ILLEGAL.

She labors beautifully, and is almost delivering, when the doc suggests an episiotomy. This was the one thing, the ONE THING, that my client was terrified of. Luckily, she pushed the baby out with the next contraction.

Move forward, random thoughts: A client was in the hospital for twelve hours. During that time, she saw about ten medical professionals. What do you think the most-asked question was: How are you feeling? Nope. "Do you have any questions?" Nope. "Is there anything you need?" Nope. It was "Have you had any miscarriages or abortions. Well, it's not rocket science to figure out that that may not be the best question to ask a laboring woman for two reason: One, she may not want everyone in the room, including her partner, to know. And, Two, these are painful memories that she may not want to think about.

But yesterday takes the cake.

Lady is being induced, medically necessary induction. Gets put on the pit. She's 2 cm. Then in five hours, she's seven cm! And then two hours later, still seven cm! They are talking AROM, so my client wants me to come to the hospital. Fine.

She's laboring so well, not feeling her contractions at all. I have seen this, infrequently, but I've seen it. The doc wants to AROM, but since she's seven cm, she decides to wait it out.

Finally, in the evening, another physician comes in and checks her. She's two.

Discussion. Justification "your vagina is a funny shape". "She's a good resident so we don't check her results". Even when those results are difficult to believe? Really? Then, a peace offering. You stay here and sleep, we'll start the induction again tomorrow.

Bad Science: why the induction? check your results, and especially check a student's results. Have a look at how you're playing with the insulin and oxytocin.
Bad Bedside manner:  Is it necessary that a woman not eat for days? Is it possible to at least make eye contact with the doula, so that she doesn't feel like shit when she leaves the hospital? Are you going to apologize for your mistakes?
Bad Luck:  How often do iatrogenic errors lead to major consequences?

Where is this all leading? It's not leading to a rise in home births, at least not in Quebec. I was speaking to a midwife yesterday from another country who has witnessed over a thousand births, and she is not certified here and therefore is not practicing. There is no bridging program that effectively allows for CPMs to become certified here in Canada, so we are left with a lack of midwives and an overburdened hospital system where errors frequently can and do happen.

Comments? What are YOU doing to change obstetrical care in your community?


Comments

  1. sorry to hear this stuff - I was grateful they sent me home Thurs. and that a lot of ppl seemed to be in worse shape over there than me. i mean I'm grateful that I'm not them. sore, achy and fighting some kind of cold. I hope all of that goes away at least somewhat before I go into labor...anyway we have to keep going and keep praying for G-d to save us from hospitals, like my husband says...:)

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  2. Lots of babies being born these days...

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