Tag Archives: Medical Establishment

Lamentations

Please, run, don’t walk, to the series called Lamenting the System at the Unnecesarean. It is a series of responses from practicing ob/gyns to an article called “An Obstetrician’s Lament” by Annette E. Fineberg, MD, which was published in the Green Journal (ACOG’s Obstetrics and Gynecology) this month. The Navelgazing Midwife reproduced the article in its entirety here.

Jill, blogmistress (I love that word!) at the Unnecesarean sent me a copy of the original article right before she started the series. It couldn’t have been better timing. My attending physician (in my pediatric ER rotation) was giving me a similar lecture to one I have gotten from almost every physician I have worked with – a lecture about what the “real world” was like, and how, in the “real world”, you couldn’t afford to offer VBACs. I argued about how VBACs were no riskier than primary vaginal deliveries, and how refusing to allow them flies in the face of expert consensus and ethical responsibility to the autonomy of the patient.

Then, I got the email from Jill. I eagerly read passages aloud to the intern sharing the service with me. She is a good friend and is leaving to start an ob/gyn residency in July. She is kind and open minded, but she did not have the benefit of training in a freestanding birth center with lots of spontaneous, natural births and plenty of successful VBACs, like I did. She has been subjected to as many if not more lectures on the “real world” as I have, and has probably only seen conventional hospital births with all of the constraints and interventions of modern obstetrics.

I read many passages, to her, including this one:

Each of these women deserves an honest discussion about the fetal and maternal risks of each birthing option. However, our lack of experience as obstetricians colored by our fear of liability is narrowing women’s choices, and sometimes motivating them to ignore fetal and maternal safety in an effort not to be coerced into unnecessary interventions. I sense a mounting tension, because many obstetricians do not have the willingness, time, or skills to provide maternal choices.

All of the articles in the series are good, but I especially love An Obstetrician’s Hope, the last one in the series, by David Hayes, MD. Every word in his piece spoke to me and to the type of practitioner I want to be. On the one hand, I am overjoyed to read of a physician supporting and attending homebirths, and even happy to see more obstetricians who support and attend homebirths in the comments. I am saddened, though, that he is leaving his practice here (although joining Doctors Without Borders is fantastic for him and the people he will help).

Here is an excerpt:

A woman choosing to have a home VBAC rather than be forced to have a repeat C/S in her local hospital is making a rational decision given the data we have available, a decision which we should be prepared to support if we cannot offer her a better alternative. I have delivered several hundred VBACs in the past several years without incident. In the same time frame, my local hospital has lost at least 3 mothers during or shortly following cesarean deliveries.

U.S. obstetricians have already come to the crossroads and have taken the wrong path. It can be fixed, but they need to start having honest and open discussions among themselves about the real maternal and fetal risks, about the rampant rate of unnecessary induction which leads to unneeded cesarean delivery, about the continued use of continuous fetal monitoring, restricted movement, withholding of nutrition, unneeded augmentation of labor, artificial rupture of membranes, epidural anesthesia and even multiple cervical exams, none of which have any proven benefit and all of which contribute to increased morbidity and even mortality.

Please go read the whole article, and the rest in the series.

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When routine care is not evidence based care

I am studying for my shelf exam (my end of rotation exam, for those of you not well versed in the jargon) on ob/gyn. I am using one of a popular series of board review books. Every single question in the chapter on intrapartum fetal monitoring had the use of an intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC), and most mentioned a fetal scalp electrode.

Shudder.

I am not sure what the prevalence is of IUPC use. I have not seen it in most of the labors I have been to, but I have definitely seen them used. In one labor I went to, the IUPC and/or fetal scalp electrode had to be replaced three times because of problems.

As far as I know, there is no evidence supporting their use. I found this article, which is a rare randomized trial with a significant number of subjects. There seems to be no advantage to using them. When that is the case, I think it is only ethical to use the less invasive intervention, which would be external monitoring.

There are a few quotes I find interesting in this article. Here’s one:

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) advise the use of internal tocodynamometry in selected circumstances, such as when the mother is obese, when one-on-one nursing care is not available, or when the response to oxytocin is limited. The Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology recommends its use in all cases of induction or augmentation of labor.2″

Well, I have never seen one to one nursing in labor and delivery in a hospital. Never.

Also, here’s another one:

Induction or augmentation is necessary in approximately 20% of all deliveries, and internal monitoring is thought to quantify the frequency, duration, and magnitude of uterine activity more accurately than does external tocography.1-3″ (Emphasis mine)

Wow, really? Unfortunately, there are poor statistics on the prevalence of interventions in labor, but Listening to Mothers cites an induction rate of 48% for first time moms, and “Only 41% of the women had a labor that began on its own.” This link didn’t have the statistic for augmentation, but from what I remember, more than 70% of labors were augmented by oxytocin.

So, 20% of that is necessary, and what does that make the rest? Depends on who you ask. Some practitioners will say it is active management, aka “doing what we can to get the baby out…that’s what you’re here for.” I call it excessive interventions that lead to possible iatrogenic risk.

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Catching Babies Blog Series: Refusal, Rights and Balance

This is an entry in the Catching Babies Blog Series, a conversation with medical economist and author J.D. Kleinke about his new novel, which focuses on ob/gyn residents at the end of residency and the beginning of private practice.

Hilary: Hi J.D.,

I am a medical student who is currently on her obstetrics and gynecology (ob/gyn) rotation. I hope to be an ob/gyn resident in just over a year, and after that, a private practitioner, hopefully in an academic practice.

When I first heard about your book, I thought it would be more like Peggy Vincent’s Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife than Grey’s Anatomy. But, as I read it, I was reminded of life in the call room, listening to the residents at my core rotation site talking about their engagements, their breakups, their exercise routines and their more difficult patients, in that order.

I was enthralled and moved by the dramatic medical and ethical issues in the beginning of the book: a resident so tired he is hallucinating, a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC ) patient with a ruptured uterus bleeding out in a snowstorm, and a twin to twin transfusion vaginal delivery with head entrapment. At first I thought, well, these are all extremes. But, the easy births don’t make good literature. And, the easy births don’t form residents’ practice patterns for years to come.

When I was doing my research on labor and delivery interventions, I asked an obstetrician in his late 60’s about VBAC. He said he saw a traumatic uterine rupture during his residency, and he would never let that happen to one of his patients. This same physician said he thought breech deliveries were fine, as long as they met certain conditions. He had never had a case of head entrapment, obviously, so his attitude and practice patterns reflected this.

How do you feel, as a medical economist and as a patient, about physicians practicing based on clinical experience and attitude as opposed to evidence? As much as I try to base my attitudes toward my future clinical decision making on evidence, I have a constant barrage from everyone around me, telling me I will only have one license and thousands of births, that obstetricians have to be “right” all of the time, that I need to protect my lifestyle as much as I need to advocate for my patients, and evidence is flawed, anyway.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the emotional and physical strain the particular practitioner is experiencing on that particular day. If a physician is practicing late on a Friday night, after not eating since breakfast, has already had two gynecological procedures go badly that day, hasn’t seen his family and has a chance to make it home just before bedtime, and will have to pay his weekend coverage physician for any births that he leaves behind, how does that factor into his decision making toward the women he has admitted in labor, if at all? We do hold physicians to much higher standards. We are not supposed to make any mistakes, ever, at all, and we are not supposed to let hunger, sadness, exhaustion, or pain affect our skills and our judgment. But they do. How can we balance this?

I am happy that there are new work hour rules in effect as of July of this year. (Link to new rules) Residents can still work 24 hours straight, and can still work up to 80 hours in one week. But, there are more limits on unsupervised practice and excessive work loads on first year residents. Catching Babies focused on graduating residents, who are presumably ready to practice on their own. Some people, mostly older physicians who walked uphill both ways during their residencies, criticize limits on resident work hours as limiting continuity of care and preventing residents from being trained adequately for private practice. As someone who once worked more than 100 hours in a so-called “Hell Week” at my midwifery training, I can tell you that you don’t learn very well once you are hallucinating, and your patients don’t have good continuity of care at that point, either.

I would also like to touch on the part of the book that dealt with anti-abortion protestors. I am glad you chose a religious resident who was struggling with his perspective on abortion as the victim of this violence. The real abortion debate is not black and white. It is very, very gray. As a co-president of our local Medical Students for Choice chapter, I found that most medical students who had qualms about performing abortions due to their religion were not in support of making all abortion illegal, and did not think all future practitioners should not be trained on how to do an abortion. I had many good discussions with them on what it means to be pro-choice, and how practitioners can separate their own values and choices from what they recommend or even force on their patients.

We had a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist talk to our chapter of the obstetrics and gynecology interest group once. She was Catholic and self identified as “pro-life”. She said she was put in the position of having a mom almost die on her as an attending physician because she had refused to be trained on how to treat a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, which inevitably involves removing the embryo. She told us that she will never be in that position again, and neither should we.

It was very important in Catching Babies for Dan, despite his religious beliefs, to be well trained in second trimester abortion. He paid for it dearly. It’s easy for a fervent protestor to be behind a sign or a brick, and easy for me to walk past their bullhorns and pictures of gruesome products of conception blown up to billboard size with a glare when I attend the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecology Annual Clinical Meeting, but I am not sure how I will feel when I am on my Family Planning rotation when I, like Dan, have to face those very real, very tiny body parts in the stainless steel bowl. Or how I will feel if a brick comes through my window or my family is threatened when I am an abortion provider. I do know that I will never face a teenager who has been date raped, like I was in high school, and tell her that there is nothing I can do. And I will never let a woman die from an ectopic pregnancy because of a philosophical argument.

Anyway, I guess I am commenting on the amorphous line where the private life of the practitioner ends and the needs and rights of the patient begins. I think work hour rules, oversight, some sort of protection against frivolous lawsuits and consideration of the physician as a human being is important. But I also think the autonomy and informed consent of the patient, along with the practice of evidence based medicine, is just as important. I am wondering how you think this interplay can be balanced.

J.D. Kleinke: Thanks for your comments, Hilary.

These are great observations and important questions. If I am teasing out your questions properly, I’ll respond as follows.

The recent movement across all medical residency programs toward reduced work hours is decades overdue. There is no clinical rationale for the brutality, on providers or patients, of any OB/GYN shift lasting longer than 12, let alone 16, 18 or 20 hours. 24 hours is a reform? You want someone cutting past YOUR uterine artery in hour 23? Into a uterus holding your baby? Around your bladder or clitoris? I wouldn’t want them cutting my bagel at that point, for fear of what they could do to themselves with the knife, let alone me. The OB/GYN residency, like most residency programs, is hazing, plain and simple, more frat house than boot camp – because boot camp is actually a workplace-relevant culling – and it is incredibly dangerous. It is also an incomprehensibly stupid way to compensate for the dysfunctional economics of federal residency funding, academic medicine generally, and our operation of a major part of the safety net we have woven over the years to care for the poor and uninsured and lost. As a gruesome physical, psychological and emotional endurance race, OB/GYN residency selects for and rewards physicians based less on sheer clinical skill and commitment, but on irrelevant criteria like stamina and the ability to think without sleep. It probably weeds out, before match or during residency, God knows how many gifted physicians who do not have these characteristics, or do not want to endure their mobilization. Not only does this bizarre gauntlet-based acculturation process NOT yield for society the best of all possible OB/GYN workforce – it probably yields a subset of people with a special capacity for detachment, indifference, masochism, self-denial, and/or dissociation. Is this who we want to deliver our babies? Is this who we want making emotionally gut-wrenching decisions about medically indicated termination, oopherectomy, hysterectomy? People chronically overstimulated from adrenaline, exhaustion and stress? When they themselves are so compromised, they have lost all sense of wonder, joy, and pathos? Let’s speak plainly: sleep deprivation is a method of torture. And it’s a great one for a secretive regime, because it leaves no visible marks. But prolonged sleep deprivation is how you break people, get them to compromise their most deeply held beliefs, sell out their own friends and families. Is this really how we want to acculturate those attending our childbirths?

Medical evidence and clinical experience are equally valid and equally important. This is not an either/or question, though the loudest voices on both sides of this debate make it sound like it is. All medical fields need more and better data, data-driven protocols, richer informatics at the point of care, and real feedback loops. But we also need human beings at the helm. And we need human beings – both OBs and midwives – who are willing to answer AND follow through on the toughest, most frequent, most important question that patients ask: if this were you, or if this were your wife, what would YOU do? As with that VBAC-averse veteran OB, when one provider’s negative experience with a difficult case diverges with the best known evidence on that case, they have a profound ethical responsibility to turf the case to somebody, anybody. Because no human being can be expected to repress their own terror about a clinical pathway that, even though they know the numbers and the evidence in support of that pathway, they can no longer go down it for their patient. That’s their right as a provider, and as a patient, I’d much rather be warned about it and turfed. And if that weren’t possible, and the potential divergence in outcomes were not that great, I might also prefer the less evidence-backed approach, if my provider were completely comfortable with that pathway and terrified of the evidence-backed pathway. This is the damnable reality of evidence – it works for the study group, but study groups are made up of thousands of little clinical realities, each of which are multi-factorial and, at rock bottom, ultimately human, not machine. Medical evidence is like snow, and every patient is a snowflake.

Much of the clinical practice of abortion is indeed gray, despite deeply held beliefs in this country that abortion is a black-and-white issue. This is why the book takes the abortion problem head-on, as it rears it hydra-headed self in residency, no matter what the protesters out in front of the clinic want to believe. The clinical case I chose in Catching Babies runs right down the middle of the line, for both the devoutly Catholic OB and the desperately ill teenager he is trying to help. All OB/GYNs, no matter how deeply held their views against abortion, run up against these ugly, clinically ambiguous realities in their training, and they have to decide, often with heartbreaking angst, how they are going to navigate them. Ectopic pregnancies do rupture, women do miscarry and need D&Cs, fetuses do develop fatal in utero anomalies in the middle of the pregnancy that will erupt and kill the woman if they are not terminated. These are the gruesome facts of nature, no matter how many laws we pass, providers we harrass, or patients we terrorize outside clinics. All OB/GYNs need to be trained adequately to deal with these clinical situations. And with equal force, I’ll say that all OB/GYNs need to have complete freedom to decide for themselves what they are willing to do, and under what circumstances. Most importantly, they need to be honest with themselves and their patients. Finally, all women and their families need to understand that their OB/GYNs are also human beings, people with hopes, dreams, frustrations, beliefs, fears and political agendas, who are bringing their own souls into every exam room, labor deck, and OR. This is probably the key impulse for my writing the book. I wanted people to understand how the culture of the OB/GYN is formed, informed, mal-formed, and where it can and should be re-formed.

*******

Other posts in the Catching Babies Blog Series:

Consider the Source: A new voice for maternity care reform
Tolerating Risk in the U.S. Maternity Care System
Catching Babies Blog Series: Fear, Faith and Perverse Incentives

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Catching Babies and Match Day

Go check out Jill’s post Catching Babies Blog Series: Fear, Faith and Perverse Incentives at the Unnecesarean.

To all of my former classmates who are finding out where they match for residency tomorrow, and all of their medical school cohorts in the same boat: may the luck of the Irish be with them.

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Catching Babies Blog Series

I am participating in a blog series on Catching Babies, a novel about obstetrics and gynecology training by health economist J.D. Kleinke. As a medical student on her obstetrics and gynecology rotation who is (hopefully!) staring down an obstetrics and gynecology residency soon, it really resonated with me.

Amy Romano kicked it off with an interview with the author on Science and Sensibility, and Kristen Oganowski followed up with a great back and forth with him on Birthing Beautiful Ideas.

Stay tuned for more great posts!

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Notes from pediatrics outpatient clinic

I am just finishing up a great month on peds outpatient. Here are some notes / lessons learned / comments to parents:

(Please note that I am a parent and usually am pretty resistant to judging parents)

1. “Sexy” is not an appropriate nickname for your three year old daughter.

2. Please try to remember to turn off your phones, parents. Answering and saying “Yeah, hey, I’m at the doctor with the kid, bro, let me call you back” while I am examining your child is, to say the least, distracting. That’s what the vibrate mode / voicemail is for.

3. If your kid is coming in for an asthma exacerbation, and currently has an asthma inhaler at home, trying to use the inhaler before coming in and then actually remembering what the name of it is when you come in (hey, even bringing it in!) is a great idea. I love the parents who bring in the bottles of meds.

4. It is amazing how wide the range can be of what worries parents. There are parents who will bring in a kid for one day of clear runny nose, no fever, no sore throat. There are parents who will fight with you about going to the hospital when their kid seems to have something clearly wrong that needs further workup that can’t be handled adequately in an outpatient setting.

5. I was happy and amazed how cute the kids were to me. Even the cranky ones. Even the ones who cried at the site of my white coat.

6. Parents, please don’t use the vaccines as a threat of punishment for bad behavior. And, please don’t use them as some sort of sick joke to scare your kids and get a laugh as I am coming at them with the stethoscope.

OK, as of Tuesday, I am swinging to the opposite end of the cycle of life. On to Geriatrics. Wish me luck!

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Defensive medicine series

Please hop on over to The Unnecesarean for an outstanding series on Defending Ourselves Against Defensive Medicine. I am sorry to say I was invited to contribute and didn’t manage to get a piece ready. I am very impressed with what has been released so far.

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Droop off

One dreary weekend day, I was stuck at the hospital instead of being home with my kids. I had been there since five a.m. with the promise we would get out by noon, and it was suspiciously creeping closer to three p.m. Suddenly, my eye caught a sign in the fourth floor charting area that had been bothering me every day:

“Doctor’s, please sign and date all order’s. Thank you!”

Argh! I couldn’t control myself any longer. I whipped out my pen and drew an X through each offending apostrophe. I was still stuck at the hospital, but I felt just a tiny bit better.

Well, I had a really frustrating day at a lab recently. I won’t name any names, but let’s just say their name rhymes with ShabCorp. After having a tech loudly insist she wasn’t going to get fired over my request (huh?), I was left at the counter to fume as she ranted about me loudly to her coworkers then fought over the phone with the person who ordered the test.

I didn’t end up getting what I wanted from dear ShabCorp and the lady who saved her job by denying me my obviously unreasonable request, but I did get to snap some lovely camera phone pictures of the high quality of work she is protecting as their intrepid office manager:

droop off by nurse

In case you were wondering, it wasn’t a simple oversight. It’s on the spine of the binder, too:

I thought maybe it was a binder where she could record the names of sleepy residents and medical students who are falling asleep while they are charting. Except, this is a private lab that is on the grounds of the hospital, but isn’t part of the teaching program.

Maybe I didn’t get my lab work done, but hey, I feel better. It’s the little things.

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Resources in Spanish for patients

The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (a group of which I am a fan) has released Spanish language guides for patients. I am happy about this for a few reasons. Selfishly, I need to learn more Spanish, especially medical Spanish. I am hoping I can read over these guides and learn how to discuss these conditions more effectively. Of course, that doesn’t help me when a patient asks me a question outside my very limited scope of Spanish proficiency. But, it’s a start.

I was also happy because I thought these guides could be a good resource for the attending physicians at my rotation site. For example, one is A guide to breast biopsies (PDF) (non PDF versions are available at the first link). I just finished a surgery rotation with a team of surgeons who do a lot of breast biopsies, many of which are on women who only speak Spanish. However, it’s 12 pages long. I think it may be nice to put a copy out in the waiting room instead of a magazine, but it is too long to pass out to all the patients.

The are also a few guides specific to pregnancy:
Induction of labor
Gestational Diabetes

I haven’t read them, and my understanding of Spanish isn’t great, so I may not be able to offer a decent critique of their quality. However, this quote from the induction of labor guide troubled me:

Las investigaciones no determinan si la probabilidad de que una mujer tenga una cesárea es diferente si ella elije la inducción en lugar de esperar a que el parto comience espontáneamente.

Unless I am mistaken, it says studies have not determined whether the probability of having a cesarean is higher if one has an induction, rather than a spontaneous labor. That has been researched, and the ACOG Practice Bulletin #107 states that there is a twofold risk of cesarean in a nulliparous (first time birthing) patient than one who has a spontaneous delivery. Also, the chance of vaginal delivery with induction is strongly association with the patient’s Bishop’s score. A Bishop score is easy for a health care practitioner to determine in an office visit, and is not that difficult to explain, at least in general terms, to a pregnant person. I am disappointed in how few people who are induced even know what the Bishop score is, or what theirs was. Of course, if it is a medically indicated induction, it will most likely be attempted even with a low Bishop’s score. But, it is an elective induction, and the pregnancy is only 39 weeks gestation, and the Bishop’s score is low, especially in a nulliparous mom, an induction is very likely to be protracted, and end in a cesarean.

(Hat tip Women’s Health News, Catching Up Edition, which, ironically, I was catching up on)

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Reply turned post, what a doula can do

Well, Rixa wrote an entire post about the physician who trashed birth plans and doulas on her blog. I tried to write a reply to it, but I was got an error message that said it was too long. So, I have published it here. I guess that’s how the reply – turned – post was born.

Aha! Here it is. Well, I answered this travesty of a comment on my blog.

I have a few other things to add. The grammar and spelling are irritating to me, but irrelevant. Don’t even bother expecting good grammar. I see spelling errors everywhere in the hospital where I am training right now. Worst of all, I see meds misspelled in charts! If there’s anything you want to spell right, it should be the name of a med! I see right and left mixed up all the time also. I am doing a tumor board presentation tomorrow, and the pathology report mixed up the right and the left. Scary.

I also wanted to add that one major purpose of a doula attending a hospital birth, at least when I am a doula, is to inform the woman what to expect when she is traiged and admitted to the hospital. Also, to give informed consent, hopefully prior to labor, on typical labor interventions, and to help the woman decide where her priorities are before she is in labor, and what she may want to discuss with her practitioner. If the practitioner doesn’t show up until the end of the labor, how is she supposed to discuss an order given over the phone to break her water and give her pitocin when she’s at 4 cm? I was clueless about what would happen to me, and most women are not informed at all about what it is really like.

Many women don’t know that your doctor most likely won’t be there until you are completely dilated (that is the standard of care in my area – not sure if it is in all areas, but it is something the woman can ask her practitioner about once the doula brings it up.)

Many women don’t know that they will need to have labs drawn when they show up – they think they are “preadmitted”. They will be asked the same questions about their history over and over again by multiple hospital employees. They will be asked invasive questions about their sexual histories, drugs, smoking, prior abortions, including exact dates. In front of their partner, mother, doula, whoever is there. Even women who want an epidural immediately will not be able to get one (see below), and will be asked these questions during contractions, regardless of if there is an issue that is concerning her about the way her labor is progressing (such as the baby being premature, there being blood, her blood pressure being high, etc.) No one will reassure her or care that she was just asked all the same questions, or that she is scared, or in the middle of a contraction, or doesn’t want to answer a question about an abortion in front of her mother. It may be a good idea to inform her doula or partner the answer to some of these questions, such as if she has ever had a reaction to anesthesia, or if she has false teeth, etc.

Nurses may be brusque and insist that she removes all of her jewelry and not wear any of her own clothing, and tell her it will risk her and her baby’s life if she doesn’t remove them. (Seen it).

If they are planning on an epidural, they WILL NOT GET IT RIGHT AWAY. This is a HUGE issue. Many women seem to think the anesthesiologist will meet them in the parking lot. My cousin Susan was told by her obstetrician that she “didn’t deserve to feel any pain.” Well, she needed to have labs drawn, and run, and then needed to have 2 liters of IV fluid infused before they would even consider giving her an epidural. Considering her entire labor was 4 hours long, she felt the pain for half of it the first time. The second time, the epidural only took on one side. Was she only half as deserving? Did she even know that epidurals don’t always “take”?

I have seen epidural informed consent that consisted of “it won’t effect your baby”, and then the baby crashed immediately after, since the woman already had low blood pressure and was flat on her back. I got the honor of explaining to them what happened. I have seen an anesthesiologist storm off angrily when another couple asked about the blood pressure drops associated with epidural and spinal anesthesia (she was there on a birth center transfer and was most likely getting a spinal and a cesarean) – again, I was left to reassure them.

I have seen women told that stadol will “take the edge of and help you relax a little” as the entire informed consent. This poor women effectively missed her delivery because she was too busy hallucinating, moaning, and drooling on herself. The baby was born depressed and had to be given narcan to cancel out the effects of the drug. I have learned from these experiences to inform all women, regardless of their professed desire to avoid meds, what the pros, cons and side effects are BEFORE we are there and someone tries to talk her into it.

Also, I didn’t know, and many women don’t know, that their baby is likely to be whisked away immediately following the birth, and most likely will not be returned to her until after a four hour “observation”. I was simply devastated when that happened, and cried until they returned the baby. Even women I have warned about that have cried with me while the baby is gone.

Anyway, this went on longer than I planned, but needless to say, doulas can provide information in a way that tends to be seriously lacking in standard hospital labor and delivery.

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