Rinat Dray of Brooklyn, N.Y., wanted to deliver her baby naturally after having had
two previous C-sections, but finding the right hospital was a
challenge. Turns out, not all
hospitals allow women who have previously undergone abdominal delivery to give
birth vaginally—a process known as VBAC—but the Staten
Island University Hospital (SIUH) in New York does, and their low cesarean
rates were a great selling point to the third-time mother, which is why
she chose their facility.
However, once in
labor, Dray claims that her doctor began pressuring her to have another
caesarean. “I don’t have all day for you,” she recalled the doctor saying. “If
you don’t let me do a caesarean section, the state is going to take your baby
away.” (The hospital declined to comment on whether this happened, according to The Guardian.)
According to a lawsuit filed against SIUH, doctors used a "secret"
internal policy—permitting them to overrule a pregnant woman’s medical
decisions—to perform an emergency C-section against her will.
Doctors at SIUH are given step-by-step instructions for performing
procedures and surgeries without a pregnant woman’s consent, according the news outlet. This “secret
policy” is used when doctors are unable to persuade a patient to give them
permission to perform a C-section, and several doctors agree that the treatment
carries a “reasonable possibility of significant benefit” for her fetus that
“outweigh[s] the possible risks to the woman.”
believe there is a threat to the fetus, they are permitted to override a
pregnant woman’s wishes without consulting anyone else.
Though officials at SIUH do not deny forcing Dray to have the unwanted procedure, a note in her chart, written by the head of
obstetrics moments before she was wheeled into surgery, suggests that it might
have saved her newborn son’s life.
“The probable benefits of C-section significantly outweigh
the possible risk to the woman … I have decided to override her refusal to have
SIUH has yet to answer questions or comment on whether the
policy is still in effect, but the policy contradicts the ethical recommendations of both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which do not sanction procedures performed without a mother's consent.
In 2012, nearly one in three women in the U.S. gave birth via cesarean section, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So you can take comfort in the fact that you're far from alone. Recovering from a cesarean section takes longer than recovering from a vaginal birth, but you should feel like yourself within a few weeks. By taking care of yourself, you'll regain your strength more quickly.