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#1 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 03:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been thinking recently about how screwed up society is when it comes to newborns. I'm a little hesitant to post this for fear of a bad backlash, but its been on my mind a lot, and I can't seem to shake the thoughts. There's things that are done to newborns and accepted as routine that someone would get arrested for child abuse if they do the same thing to the baby after its out of the hospital.

For example, forceps. I know they're not used very much these days, but they are still out there. Gripping the baby by its head with metal tongs and turning/pulling on the baby so much that it gets bruised is definitely child abuse in my book. If someone did the same thing to a month old baby, they would be a criminal.

Rooming in vs. the nursery. When the baby is taken out of the room and later requested to be brought back, but it takes hours to get the baby returned, that could be considered abduction. Similar to the way you "give" your baby to a baby sitter, then come back after work and the baby sitter and the baby are no where to be found. This thought is also on my mind because in the recent thread about rooming in, one poster told a story about waking up to find her daughter gone from her room without her permission. That would be very scarey, and I would panic as if it were an abduction. How would I know some crazy person isn't wandering the hospital looking for babies to take? UGH! And what kind of person in their right mind would deny a mother from the presence of her child and a child, the presence of its mother?

I'm not sure what its called, but its a tiny "cork screw electrode" that gets screwed into the baby's scalp while still in the womb as another form of monitoring during labor. This one really boggles my mind. Screwing something into a baby's head is obviously a bad idea!! Birth is traumatic enough, why add more pain to it? Again, anyone doing this to an older baby would be considered a child abuser.

Pulling the infant out of the mother by the head. I've seen this time and time again on all those Discovery shows. Once the head is out, the doc grabs the baby around the neck/under the chin, and pulls the baby out of the mother. I'm sure the baby doesn't like that one bit, it looks painful. The baby's chin is not a handle. No one would think of pulling a baby around by its head after its born.

So why are these things so accepted in society as normal when the baby is so new to the world, but a crime after they're released from the hospital? Is it because a doctor is doing it, and doctors know everything? Probably.

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#2 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 03:50 AM
 
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You know, I have no idea. I have not given birth yet, and I am not an expert. I'm sure there must be some emergency situations where such tools are needed for birth. But, what bothers me, is that such tools are ROUTINE. This scares the heck out of me. Every time I have watched A Baby Story, the fear of doctors and hospitals during birth was cemented into me. For me, it's like watching one of those horror movies!

I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE that modern medicine exists in case of an emergency. But, those shows mainly show healthy, non-emergency situations. And it's like a horror show to see how they take a natural event and turn it into a medical disaster.

I also don't get the nursery. I asked my mom about it, as in Poland, at the time I was born, it was mandatory for the babies to go to the nursery. I asked my mom if she minded, and her response was "well, after all that labor, it was nice to get some sleep/rest." Feeling the love, mom, lol. I just can't imagine sending my healthy baby to another room. It seems so counter-intuitive to me.

And attaching stuff to the baby, while the baby is in my womb. I gotta say, that makes ME cringe, in terms of my body. Again, I'm sure there are high risk, emergency situations for which this is fine. But, it's become routine and that is truly scary to me.

Actually, all that you mentioned is pretty much why I decided on a home birth.

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#3 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 09:06 AM
 
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I agree 100%. And it goes past that- very rough hospital baths, taking the baby away for "monitoring" and leaving it crying in the warmer. Testing that isn't necessary (you hear of it being done a lot in homebirth transfers, where they're punishing mom) and they do blood work on the baby, give the baby IV's, unnecessary antibiotics, etc. Some of the baths I've seen are downright cruel. The things they do ROUTINELY could all fall into the category of abuse if someone saw you doing that to a child outside of a medical setting.

Somehow that white coat/ nurses scrub set with teddy bears on it makes you immune. Makes me SO angry.

There are definitely some interventions that can be necessary and life saving, but they are being used far, far too often.

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#4 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 09:30 AM
 
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I agree that all of those things are undesirable (though perhaps in varying degrees and w/ varying levels of necessity), but sadly, I don't think there is a double standard.

First, on the medical side, doctors do things all the time that cause pain/suffering, and perhaps with no good reason. A friend of my mom's had to have a breast biopsy a few years ago (the needle aspiration kind, I think), and the doctor did it without even a local anesthetic. The pain was so intense that she fainted at the mammogram machine and a nurse had to rush in to catch her; the doctor didn't even flinch, and just explained later that it was standard procedure, blah blah. But on the flip side, so often they inflict pain that must be inflicted (setting a broken bone or stitching a wound), so maybe they just get hardened to it in general. So this, I think, is a bit of a separate issue that does not only relate to babies, though babies may get the worst of it since they can't talk. Circumcision is probably one of the best examples. Even if one is "pro" circumcision, how anyone justifies the pitiful pain relief they give (or don't give!) to some babies....

Regarding the rooming in-- again, I don't think this is a double standard, though I do think it's sad. Mother's Morning Out programs here generally start at 6 weeks, for example. I personally would feel much better about leaving my newborn just down the hall w/ nurses while I am recovering from labor than I would about sending my 6 week old off with strangers so that I can go grocery shopping. It boggles my mind, really (and obviously, I would not choose to do either if I could possibly help it!)

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#5 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 10:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sonicfrost View Post
So why are these things so accepted
<snip>
Is it because a doctor is doing it, and doctors know everything? Probably.
Exactly what I was going to say.
Docs & the other people who work in the hospital are AUTHORITY FIGURES! & we don't question authority figures.
Did you ever hear of that horrific social psych experiment where people were shocking an unknown person (actor) for getting questions wrong. Many obeyed the authority figure & kept raising the shock level beyond the point of severe pain. They kept delivering shocks despite the person's 'screams'....
Blind obedience of authority is simply never a good thing.

Based on your opening, I knew you were going to mention the rooming-in thing. I'm FURIOUS when I read of mamas not getting their babies back immediately. FURIOUS I can't imagine how I'd react if that had happened to me.... ooh It would be uggggllly, I can tell you that.

I also hate seeing babies yanked out of mamas. I know there are cases where baby isn't coming out - & maybe, ok maybe vacuum could be necessary but once the head is already out, to YANK like that is awful. I even saw it in a video my Bradley teacher showed that was supposedly pro-NCB! I remember thinking, "WTF? THIS is a pro-NCB video?" My thought was, "If a doc were to treat my baby so violently, yanking him like that, I would have trouble not responding in kind." In other words... kicking the doctor & attacking him! Sorry... mama bear growl...
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#6 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 10:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MaterPrimaePuellae View Post
But on the flip side, so often they inflict pain that must be inflicted (setting a broken bone or stitching a wound), so maybe they just get hardened to it in general.
That is a very good point. I can certainly see how HCPs could get hardened & not bothered too much by their patients physical suffering. BUT... one poster here said her hospital paper work said, and I quote, "You have a right to a pain-free birth." Idiotic.
& "pain management" is a big issue in medicine. It's considered unethical to allow patients to remain in pain without taking actions to alleviate it (which, I would imagine, causes such trouble in the L&D area because HCPs are literally taught that they are SUPPOSED to help eliminate pain... so it's difficult to differentiate.)

So, in other words, there is still a "double-standard" here when it comes to ignoring, vs. working to eliminate pain!
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#7 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 11:16 AM
 
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What sort of double standard are we talking about?

I thought we were talking about what doctors and nurses can do vs. what lay people can do.

If we were to jab a baby full of needles for no reason it'd be abuse, but they can do it with no repercussions. It's true that babies probably get similar treatment to what adults may get, but a lot of adults shouldn't be treated the way they are either by medical professionals.

I do understand becoming "hardened" to inflicting pain- in which case, you should leave the medical field! If you don't care if your patient is screaming and passing out, you should NOT be practicing. They should go for psych evaluations regularly and be forced out of the field when they stop caring.

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#8 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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I have a scar on my face from the forcepts that were used at my own birth. I was whisked away from my parents for hours at a time and I'm sure that awful things were done to me while I was out of my parents eyesight.

But it was nothing to what was done to my mother. She still has nightmares about my birth. People should not be treated like that. Newborns or mothers.

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#9 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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If we were to jab a baby full of needles for no reason it'd be abuse, but they can do it with no repercussions.
do you really think they are doing it for no reason though? I mean, they think they have good reasons.

same with forceps (which aren't used all that often anymore, vacuum is more common, but give me a skilled provider with forceps over a resident with a vacuum any day): sure, you can look at it like you wouldn't do that to a 1 month old, but if the choice was "use something to get my kid out of a tight spot quickly" or "leave them there to die", I'll pick the use something every time, even if they get bruised or hurt a bit along the way. Haven't you ever had to pull your kid out of the way of something quickly? I yanked my ds out of the way of a cart in the parking lot, and he got a bruise on his arm. In a different context, that could be considered abuse too.

the "cork screw electrode" is a monitoring device, and it's more accurate than external monitoring and I'd accept it if it bought me some time to avoid a cesarean.

I'm so not "on the doctor's side" with this stuff, but I don't think they are evil either. I have my own babies at home, work as a doula. I know how easy it is to start thinking about them as uncaring and harsh, and yes, they can be, but our attitude goes a long way as well. Painting them as evil doesn't help us when we need them (and I have needed them, so I know how yucky that situation can be as well). I've seen awful things, I've seen wonderful things.

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#10 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 11:55 AM
 
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Forceps are the ONLY reason I avoided a C/S with my 1st DD's birth and I was grateful that my Dr was comfortable trying them as a last ditch effort. Just because an intervention was used in a person's birth does NOT mean that it was not necessary.
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#11 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 02:07 PM
 
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Wow. I don't think that the doctors are doing all that stuff for no reason. This thread is going too far...comparing it to child abuse and implying that the doctors are trying to hurt babies. That is pretty extreme.
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#12 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 02:09 PM
 
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It taking hours for a child to be returned from the nursery upon request is not a normative experience. In every hospital I've birthed in, for that matter, the nursery has not exactly been closed to mothers ... if there were a delay, there would have been nothing to stop a mother from heading down and fetching her baby for herself. Likening the possibility of a request for a service getting lost in a nursing staff's shuffle to abduction seems a bit much.

TBH your whole post sounds a bit like me before I had my first child too ... standard hospital births are outrageous horror shows, etc. Having had two hospital births since ... well, I've found out there are advantages and disadvantages to everything, it's all a question of weighing individual circumstances (and with some things preferences), and basing ideas of what's very! very! right! and oh! so! wrong! on internet readings and birth shows on tv doesn't usually lead to a mind opened to the possibility of there being advantages when faced with needing to make choices involving the villified tools and techniques. It's good to question ... but a mother who finds herself thinking more about that tiny corkscrew than about whether or not accurately finding out her baby's heartrate is a real concern is a mother not in a good place to be making that decision.
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#13 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 02:10 PM
 
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Wow. I don't think that the doctors are doing all that stuff for no reason. This thread is going too far...comparing it to child abuse and implying that the doctors are trying to hurt babies. That is pretty extreme.
:
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#14 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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I think a first time mother could come onto the internet and really scare herself about how "bad" a hospital birth could be. We had two wonderful ones. We were clear that we didn't want interventions like forceps or vacuum unless necessary - and they were never mentioned. If my baby had been in distress I'd want anything done to save them. Doctors are not standing there with forceps being lazy about waiting for babies to come out on their own. TRUST ME!
My husband always accompanied our children when they were outside of our room. The nurses ALWAYS asked us before they took the baby out for something. They have to ask certain questions and compare bracelets before removing baby from your room or giving him or her back. That is for baby's security. They don't stroll in and grab the baby when they feel like it.
And about birth - when baby's head is out and nothing else - they do need to apply pressure to what they can reach I guess. They are not trying to be mean. I think you need to change your mindset before you go into labor OP or you are almost guaranteed a negative birth experience. As I said at the beginning, every minute of ours was positive and I have no reason to think it was outside of the norm.

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#15 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know some of these procedures are used to save lives, I guess I should've said that in my first post. But at the same time, the doctors do them to prevent something bad from happening, when there's no evidence to suggest that anything bad would happen in the first place. Baby's head is out? Great! The body will follow shortly, no reason to yank the baby out by its head and cause momma to tear.

I know I would rather my child get a bruise than be run over by a truck or something, but so many things docs do just seem too harsh on a newborn, or if the procedure isn't harsh, they act harshly (like scrubbing really hard during a bath), like another post said, being hardened to patient's feelings.

And yes, I know I have never given birth, so I can't say any of this from first hand experience, which may be a bad idea to post this in the first place, but I hear about it happening all the time, and not just on this board.

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#16 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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Interventions often save the lives of babies and mothers. The black and white mentality that a birth is either low-risk or an emergency is mind-boggling to me. (And, FTR, internal fetal monitoring and forceps delivery are by no means 'standard practice'.)

Let me give you a personal example. My son was born at 33 weeks and spent 15 days in the nicu. This pregnancy has been monitored very closely, including weekly cervical ultrasounds for the last 3 months. I have been on meds for preterm labor for 2 months. I've been on bed rest for about 3 weeks. And guess what? I will be 37 weeks in 2 days! Because my wonderful OB paid attention and intervened when problems started to crop up, I will be having a full-term baby (or one very close to full term, if it happens before Friday). Hopefully this means I won't have another nicu stay, and that I can nurse at the breast instead of having to EP like I did for a year with DS.

In my case, a very medicalized pregnancy has given me a *much* greater chance of having a healthy baby. Had my OB and I waited until these issues became emergencies, I would most likely be sitting in the nicu right now with my daughter. Yay for my OB and her proactive interventions!
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#17 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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but I hear about it happening all the time, and not just on this board.
I am about to have surgery. (Yes, I have a point with this OT anecdote. ) I have read all over the internet about everything that can go horribly, horribly wrong with this particular procedure. I've even heard a horror story or two in person. I have read other people saying the sheer volume of horror stories available are scaring them out of having the procedure done at all, despite the pain they're already in. Statistically, though, those bad outcomes they and I are hearing about are a quite small percentage of the total outcomes.

In short: people who have experiences they don't like tend to be far louder about it than people for whom all was well. And it's pretty normal to hear those stories and get outraged or scared or both. But whether or not those stories form a representative sampling is another question entirely. (FWIW, two babies, two hospital births, two experiences I'm happy with, no yanking, no harsh scrubbing, a lot of really sweet and caring hospital staff, and otherwise no anything I would complain about.)
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#18 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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I think there are a lot of things in life that seem wierd, harsh, awful, until you have a little background.

I've spent 9 years attending truly high risk births. Still, i don't see a lot of head yanking (shoulder mainpulation, but no head yanking) scalp electrodes or forceps. And the nurseries where I've worked all have rooming in. Babies are only in the nursery briefly. Certainly no one keeps moms from their babies.
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#19 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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Okay, it's true- I've never had a hospital birth (and don't intend to). I've never been present for a hospital birth. So there are some things that are possibly blown out of proportion or being taken the wrong way and so forth.

However, there are some TRULY horrific stories of things done to mothers and babies that I've seen online and heard from people IRL. So either they're all lying, the doctors were unnecessarily saving their lives (I don't know how to phrase that so it make sense) or... something else I haven't considered.

I know 4 people who gave birth in the same hospital. 3 of them had really really really really terrible experiences. So maybe it's a bad sample. Maybe it's just a truly awful hospital with truly awful staff and doctors...but I'm also not about to go have a baby there to find out.

YES there are practices that are lifesaving. But in the hands of the wrong person I think they could be seen as abuse.


(and my reference to needlessly jabbing a baby with needles - or whatever I said, too lazy to look my exact wording- was one of those 3 ladies I mentioned whose baby had the PKU heel prick test done 7 times in 2 days because the SAME nurse kept "losing" it. And then she needed to repeat the jandice blood tests several times because she kept making mistakes)

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#20 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 06:13 PM
 
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Okay, while I accept that some/many/all of the above mentioned procedures *may* be necessary and even life-saving under certain circumstances I definitely believe that they are far over-used. I don't think that all nurses and doctors who over-use such procedures do so with the intent to abuse - in fact I would be quite willing to accept that most of them have never thought enough about it to realise that they are over-using a procedure (which possibly makes them professionally negligent, but that might be another thread).

However there are *certainly* doctors and nurses out there who are willing and able to use procedures to abuse and punish those they find at their power.

I know because it was done to me. Long story short; homebirth transfer in a very anti-homebirth country, unsupportive midwife who didn't accompany me into hospital delivery room, doctors who were appalled that I had attempted a homebirth and decided to punish me. Within half an hour of arriving at the hospital (the first 20 minutes of which were spent on the CTG) they had delivered DD by forceps. There were no indications for them to do so, other than the fact that I had transferred. They probably would have done a C-section but 1) were afraid I might actually manage to have DD by myself before they could operate and 2) they would have to give me anaesthesia for a section so couldn't properly punish me.

I was punished (and poor DD too) by being pushed onto my back on a table, given a gigantic episiotomy without even local anesthesia and DD delivered by *high* forceps (she hadn't even started moving down the birth canal as she was hung up on a cervical lip) which is a very dangerous procedure. Nobody even discussed this with me and it was absolutely not consented to, but I never even had the opportunity not to consent. DD was extremely lucky not to be permanently damaged by the procedure - it still makes me physically ill to think about how easily she could have been badly injured or even killed just because those UAVs wanted to make a point. She has however needed a number of chiropractic treatments and is still a bit out of alignment - you can even see that her head is a slightly funny shape.

She was immediately taken into another room (DH who was entirely shell-shocked followed but didn't do anything to intervene as he's very fearful around birth) where she was very roughly bathed, had who knows how many tests done (because she was a hair over 4kg they decided she must be a GD baby and stuck both her and me countless times). Well over half an hour after they'd taken her away from me (I hadn't even seen her yet - they were busy sewing me back up - also without any pain relief) they brought her back to breastfeed, which we were allowed to do for a total of about 2 minutes, before they took her off to the nursery and I didn't see her again for nearly 6(!!) hours and had to actually walk down to the nursery myself and start yelling for them to give her to me. They kept us in for 4 extremely long days during which they did everything they could to sabotage our BFing relationship - the usual feed for 10 minutes on each side every 4 hours kind of thing, insisting that she be given formula because my milk hadn't come in after 24 hours and when I refused giving it to her behind my back anyway.

I may also have been the mother that the OP was thinking of who had her baby abducted from her room. The nurses just wouldn't let me keep her - I resorted to wheeling the bassinette into the bathroom when I needed to pee because more than once I'd come back out after a minute to find that DD who'd previously been fast asleep just outside the door was now gone and I'd have to go chasing down to the nursery and argue and yell to get her back again.

DD's birth was by far the worst experience of my life, and it's certainly been the worst experience of her life so far. I am incredibly angry at what was done to us - it was nothing short of abuse. I was birth-raped and my daughter was physically and emotionally abused simply because a bunch of doctors and nurses felt threatened by my decision to try to have a natural, peaceful birth.

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#21 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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It's sad to me to think that some of these procedures are used unnecessarily, but I also wonder just how common they really are, having had a hospital birth that was so far from the horror shows I hear on this site. I mean, I DO believe it - we have plenty of birth stories to prove it - but that was not at all MY experience. I mean, the doc that "caught" DS just waited for him to come out, no pushing, pulling or tugging. He was a little bit stuck at one point, so my doula suggested I lie on my back and give a gentle push to help him out, and that was it. It's shocking to think there are still practitioners and hospitals where this kind of gentle birth isn't the norm. I'm glad interventions are available when needed, though.
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#22 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They kept us in for 4 extremely long days during which they did everything they could to sabotage our BFing relationship - the usual feed for 10 minutes on each side every 4 hours kind of thing, insisting that she be given formula because my milk hadn't come in after 24 hours and when I refused giving it to her behind my back anyway.
This is what I mean by double standard. If the child was any older than an infant, and the doctors gave the child something the parents said no to, they would easily get a malpractice lawsuit. Just because the child is an infant, its accepted as being okay to do anything to him/her. Maybe its because the child can't speak for themselves and therefore can't tell the parent what happened. It just seems like the infant is "hospital property" from the time its in the womb to the time it goes home with mom.

That said, I know not all hospitals and doctors are bad or evil or abusive. I myself am under the care of an OB and plan on giving birth in a hospital. In my area, things are pretty laid back, and the hospital encourages rooming in and breastfeeding. Even though my first thought is to trust a hospital like this one, I'm still never letting my baby out of my sight.

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#23 of 32 Old 09-23-2009, 08:36 PM
 
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I have to agree that a lot of common hospital OB procedures are borderline-abusive, if not actually outrightly so in some cases, like the pps. Of course, many painful procedures are actually medically necessary, in which case, the good outweighs the bad. But I have BIG issues with the general overuse of interventions, which traumatize moms and babies. They absolutely have a place, but not in anywhere NEAR the numbers we see them.

What bothers me more than that tho, since I do at least believe that the doctors have the best of intentions for the most part, is the way newborns are treated after birth in many hospitals. Ripped from their mothers, rubbed so hard it has to hurt, pinched, poked, prodded, needled, suctioned, intubated. I have heard of baths witnessed by fathers who swear it was nothign short of abuse, with nurses telling them the babies can't even feel anything yet. Which we all know is just ridiculous... I'm not in any way saying those treatments are never needed or that every hospital is unnecessarily rough with babies... Just that it DOES happen, and it's really upsetting. I think that, in those regards, we have gotten much more humane as the years have gone on, and my birth center (inside a hospital) birth experience was nothing like that... There were things I would absolutely change, but nothing that was absuive or cruel.

There was an article in Parenting, i think, recently about the evolution of infant care pain management, focusing mostly on how shots are more painful than we think and babies should be given a local anesthetic. But in the article, there were stories about how, as recently as the 80s, babies were operated on with NO anesthesia... Just a sedative. The survival rates doubled once they started using anesthesia because, of course, the poor babies weren't dying of SHOCK. The dr's believed that babies couldn't feel pain yet. That one gave me nightmares.

Anyway, I'm not trying to jump into the middle of a debate here. Like I said, there are two sides, and most people's experiences are probably more toward the midline anyway. But there are some CRAZY stories out there... Very scary...
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#24 of 32 Old 09-24-2009, 02:42 AM
 
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I was having a conversation along these lines with BIL tonight. If he got mad at me and smacked me, he'd be arrested. But if I was a kid and he was my dad, it would be ok, even considered good parenting by most. It's even still legal for teachers to spank in some states! I know it was legal when I went to elementary school in Alabama and that wasn't so long ago. I'm only 26.

Circumcision is the most obvious example of this attitude towards newborns that I can think of. We can't surgically remove any other body part on the pure whim of the parents - why the foreskin? Whim it is, really. They call it "parental choice" but if it's a good thing, it's good for all kids. If it's a bad thing, it's bad for all kids. Period. They recommend vaxes across the board. Whether you agree with vaxes or not, they are recommended for all kids. Same with breastfeeding. And carseats. And regular exercise. Etc. They're recommended for ALL kids. But parents can randomly choose to subject their healthy child to surgery. And often without anesthesia. If the child was old enough to protest, you can be damn sure he'd do it. So we have to get 'em before they're old enough to say no!

What other surgical procedure (on ANY person of ANY age) is done regularly with no anesthesia? If people found out about elderly people in a nursing home being circumcised without anesthesia, there'd be a HUGE outcry, any doctors involved would lose their licenses, and the home would be shut down. But the AAP won't even require anesthesia be used on neonates - they just recommend it. There are no actions or punishments of any kind on doctors who do not use it, even if the parents request it or complain because he didn't.

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#25 of 32 Old 09-24-2009, 02:54 AM
 
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I can't claim that the practice of obstetrics is in any way perfect, and I certainly don't want to negate the experiences of patients who genuinely have been mistreated by medical professionals, but have you considered how *much* of medical practice would be characterized as assault if the setting or circumstances were different?

All surgery involves using a knife or other device to cut the patient open, which would get you jail time if you did it in a bar fight.

CPR typically breaks the patient's ribs.

The splinting and setting of broken bones can be quite painful and traumatic to patients who have already experienced significant trauma.

But we allow doctors, paramedics, and occasional concerned bystanders to engage in these practices anyway, on the understanding that they are intended to help. Obstetrical practice is not so very different from the rest of medicine - there are parts of it that are unpleasant, painful to patients, and would fit the definition of assault if they occurred under other circumstance. That doesn't mean that those procedures are universally or inherently wrong, or that they should never be used.
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#26 of 32 Old 09-24-2009, 03:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
I can't claim that the practice of obstetrics is in any way perfect, and I certainly don't want to negate the experiences of patients who genuinely have been mistreated by medical professionals, but have you considered how *much* of medical practice would be characterized as assault if the setting or circumstances were different?

All surgery involves using a knife or other device to cut the patient open, which would get you jail time if you did it in a bar fight.

CPR typically breaks the patient's ribs.

The splinting and setting of broken bones can be quite painful and traumatic to patients who have already experienced significant trauma.

But we allow doctors, paramedics, and occasional concerned bystanders to engage in these practices anyway, on the understanding that they are intended to help. Obstetrical practice is not so very different from the rest of medicine - there are parts of it that are unpleasant, painful to patients, and would fit the definition of assault if they occurred under other circumstance. That doesn't mean that those procedures are universally or inherently wrong, or that they should never be used.
The issue comes when it's done for no reason, on perfectly healthy people. Doing CPR on someone who's had a heart attack? Wonderful, heroic. Doing CPR on every person who walks into the ER? Dangerous, assault. There is never an excuse for harshly scrubbing a newborn baby during a bath. Or separating a mother from her perfectly healthy baby when she wants to be near him. Or giving a baby something his mother has specifically refused. Or giving every single woman in labor Pitocin as a matter of routine. Or denying laboring women food and water. Or giving every first-time mom an episiotomy. Or hundreds of other things that are done.

No one has a problem with MEDICALLY NECESSARY procedures being done. I have a BIG problem with procedures being done that are not necessary and are even harmful and people getting away with it just because they are medical professionals. If someone cuts my genitals with scissors after I say no, that's sexual assault, plain and simple. If I had a medical need for it, I'd say yes. But it's done all the time without consent. That's illegal. But all a doctor has to do is say "The baby's heart rate was looking a little iffy. We needed to get him out ASAP" and he'd be let off scott-free, whether it was true or not. The doctor's job is to give his professional opinion and recommendation. It's the patient's job to decide whether or not to agree with the treatment. If the doctor or nurse does something the patient has not agreed to, or doesn't need, or they do it in an unnecessarily cruel or harsh manner, it's WRONG.

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#27 of 32 Old 09-24-2009, 03:26 AM
 
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I have no issue with a bazillion interventions if there is a valid medical reason or emergency. I was in a VERY serious car accident, and almost died. I had just about every intervention known to man - from the defibrillator to 5 surgeries to catheters.

And I was SO thankful for every single one of them. They saved my life.

If I had a serious emergency or medical problem during pregnancy, I would be SO thankful for every one of those interventions.

The problem, for me, is how ROUTINE such interventions have become when there is NO medical reason for them. When I listen to the wives of my dp's friends discussing their hospital births ... it's like listening to a freak show. All their births were problem free, but they had ALL the interventions: IV, not being able to eat/drink, not being able to leave their rooms, having the doctor tell them when to push and when to stop, having the baby monitored while in their womb, having the baby pulled out from them, having a nurse push against their abdomen to help get the baby out (no emergency, the doctor just didn't like how long it was taking), having the cord cut immediately even though they requested to wait, having an episiotomy even though they specifically said they didn't want one, etc. Like really scary stuff that I personally would not want done assuming a healthy birth/pregnancy.

Yet, these women all said it was routine procedure at their births. No medical reason, no emergency. And THAT is what bothers me. Not interventions when it's necessary - I'm all for them then. But, interventions when it's not necessary scare me. Not only do they scare me, but if I had told a doctor that I didn't want an episiotomy and he cut me anyway, I would consider this abuse. Except because it's a hospital and he's a doctor, it's considered OK.

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#28 of 32 Old 09-24-2009, 10:30 AM
 
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I think the key here is *informed* consent. Obviously if you're just walking down the street with your new baby and someone walks up to you and without your permission squeezes his head with a pair of forceps - well, you're going to be calling the cops. But if you went to a faith healer and they told you they could exorcise all the 'sin' from your baby by squeezing his head then you might consent to it. (It's dubious whether or not that would be *informed* consent though.) The problem is that many doctors seem to think that merely by walking into a hospital you've consented to anything they may decide to do to you or your baby, and entirely neglect the fact that such consent should not only be actually given, but also be *informed*.

Many doctors and nurses (not all by any means but certainly quite a few) will do whatever they want to a patient, often without even asking their permission and *very* rarely accompanied by true information about the benefits and risks of said procedure, why the doctor wants to do it, what would happen if they didn't etc. that actually constitutes informed consent. In fact I would bet that few if any doctors actually *allow* labouring women informed consent as how many women would consent to an episiotomy if told all the true risks and told the reason the doc wanted to do it was "Because I always do" or "because I don't feel like waiting any longer for you to get the baby out yourself" or "because it was done to me" or "because I'm a misogynistic UAV" or any of a plethora of other (hypothetical but likely non necessary) reasons why doctors do them.

And when it comes to newborns the same person who under normal circumstances is the one to protect them and needs to consent to any procedures is often, in the immediate aftermath of the birth, in a lot of pain, or totally drugged up, splayed on a table with her legs in the air and half a dozen people staring at her yoni. She's generally not been given the opportunity to exercise informed consent on her own behalf, so why allow her to do so on behalf of her baby?

Honestly I think there is a *huge* dehumanisation of pregnant/labouring/birthing women that goes on in our medicalised society, and part of that is the abuse of her baby - it underlines how powerful the medical personnel are (and by extension all authority figures in society) and how powerless the woman/mother is to do anything to protect herself or even worse to protect the new small life which is now totally dependent on her. No wonder so many women suffer PPD/PTSD - what an awful way to start motherhood - with the realisation that in the first few minutes of your baby's life you failed to protect him/her in the way that all babies should be able to depend on their mamas to protect them.

Yes, it is a double standard, and it exists to perpetuate the power that authorities have over us. The person who brought up Milgram's experiments was right - it's a lot like that. People will inflict pain/torture on others simply because told to do so by someone in authority, and on the flip side those being abused quickly learn that they are powerless to do anything to protect themselves or their loved ones, and thus learn to be good obedient members of society. What was done to me was done to punish me for doing something not approved of by society's authority, with the intention of forcing me into compliance. In some ways it back-fired - I've become even more cynical and distrusting of the medical model since, but in other ways it worked - I'm too terrified to have another baby and so can no longer question/challenge authority by seeking out an alternative birth experience.

Lisa - mama to Eleanor Rose 01/08 and Saoirse Lily 09/10
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#29 of 32 Old 09-24-2009, 10:37 AM
 
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right, I get it, routine stuff, but the OP wasn't distinguishing between routine and not. Forceps are not used routinely, they just aren't. Even if we might think they are overused (which I honestly doubt, given that in 7 years of doulaing, and with dozens of friends who are doulas, I've never heard of it done), they aren't routine.

My point is that intent matters in this instance. Like a poster above said (I'd quote it, but I'm already in the reply and I don't know if I can do that, or if I can, how to do it), practicing medicine in general gets us stuff like this all the time. It's not limited to OB. Heck, most sports have some aspects of them that if done in everyday life would be criminal. It just doesn't compute to compare them that way.

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#30 of 32 Old 09-24-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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I remember watching A Baby Story when I was in junior high/high school. I didn't know anything about childbirth, but I remember commenting to my mom about how the babies are juggled around immediately after birth. Just grabbed, and jostled and passed back and forth, shivering. It just looked so WRONG, but what did I know? I had never seen any different, and every episode looked the same.

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