Sunday Times speaks out against “natural birth bullies”

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This past weekend The Sunday Times, partly in reaction to comments made at the continuing inquest of Frances Cappuccini, published a feature aiming to highlight the alleged reluctance of medical professionals to perform elective caesarean procedures.

The article highlights several instances in which a caesarean was requested, including some in which a medical requirement necessitating one had been overlooked or ignored. Invariably this would have a devastating effect on the child or the mother, with death and disability resulting.

The reluctance to provide a caesarean is linked back to both an increased cost over a vaginal birth, and the fact that, unable to perform the procedure themselves, midwives are attempting to maintain control over their patients by talking them out of the operation.

Jackie Linehan is a Legal Director at Foot Anstey who specialises in medical negligence. Jackie says:

“While I would challenge some of the more inflammatory aspects of this writing, the risk remains that lives could be lost due to potentially avoidable situations.

“The medical establishment must lose its reluctance to listen to patients when they request certain treatment, because there may well be a justifiable concern.

“Since the case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board, aScottish case concerning negligent advice about the risks of vaginal delivery where there was a possibility of large baby due to the mother having diabetes and being of small stature, the medical profession have been learning that they need to properly inform patients of their options and then listen to the patient’s choices. Whilst that case related to consent the overarching theme is that paternalism in medicine is something of days gone by and that patients views should now be an important part of decision making”

“We must hope that this year sees the NHS finally embrace the NICE guidelines from 2011 which state that all women who ask for a caesarean should be offered one after discussion.”

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