I was incredulous to read this article on a woman at a New Jersey hospital who refused to sign a pre-consent for a c/section. Here is another article on the same situation. She wanted the chance to have informed consent at the time of the surgery instead of signing her rights away before it was medically indicated. I understand completely where she is coming from. There is always time for a signature- even in the most pressing of moments there can be someone getting a signature. As long as she was informed of the risks ahead of time, she could of waited to sign until she was rolling into the OR if needed.
This hospital has a 50% c/section rate. If I was delivering there, I would probably not want to sign the c/section consent as well! It seems that your odds are just as good for an operative delivery as they are for a vaginal one! Ridonkulous!
What really pisses me off about this is that she is made out to be a "bad mother" because she didn't want her baby to be delivered via c/section. C/S really suck for moms, but they are hard on babies too. Gunky lungs, difficulty breastfeeding, spinal anesthesia, and the list goes on and on.
What this really comes down to is whether or not it is possible for someone to have "informed consent" when they sign the c/s consent in early labor. The decision for an operative delivery is taken away from the parents and given to the doctors. The doctors decide if a c/s is necessary based on their own views. Their views are based on a lot of medical training, but also on a fear of litigation. If something goes bad and the doc did a c/s it nearly will always clear him because "s/he did everything possible". How can a parent make an informed consent for a situation that hasn't even happened yet? Does it really take so long to go over the risks of surgery in early labor (but not get a patient signature) and get the signature when the need arises? Is it really that big of a deal to tell a patient the reason that we want to section them? At least then they will feel like somewhat of a participant in their birth. During a stat there are nearly always lots of hands to get the work done, is it really that hard to make getting a signature part of the work? We can get a baby out in 6 minutes at my hospital. I don't see that number being affected by the need for a signature as long as the patient was informed of the risks of a c/s in early labor.
Does refusing to sign a consent make a woman a bad mother- bad enough that her baby is taken away for 3 years? I don't think so. Heck, does having a home birth without even an OR around make a woman a bad mother? Hell no. This thinking is just part of the medicalized childbirth model that really needs to be changed.