Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baby dies at homebirth attended by the leader of the Hungarian homebirth movement

A baby died of shoulder dystocia at a homebirth attended by the leader of the Hungarian homebirth movement, Agnes Gereb.

According to the website of the Hungarian homebirth movement:
Dr Ágnes Geréb is the only obstetrician and gynaecologist in Hungary who has experience in rendering professional help for undisturbed childbirth, outside of hospitals. She considers the statements of the Professional Board of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which served as a basis for the decision of the Hungarian Chamber of Medical Doctors to suspend her membership, to be erroneous. Her views are based on her experiences of the 1,500 childbirths she has attended and on the guidelines of the WHO concerning childbirth. She has been working for the creation of the conditions (legal framework, accredited training, a network of birth centers and supporting hospitals, financial aid from health insurance) for undisturbed birth, together with other experts who know and recognize her activities...
A Hungarian homebirth advocate offers more information:
It was a fatal shoulder dystocia, the first in the history of modern home birth in Hungary. The fatal dystocia that would eventually strike one day... it came to be last night. Unexpected, and unresolved until arrival at the hospital, where the baby could not be resuscitated...
She has translated the description found at Dr. Gereb's website:
"The birth promised to be without complications. Labor was as well. Amniotic fluid was clear, at 40 weeks and 4 days, labor started spontaneously. The baby's presentation was good, and he was of good size. Heart tones were fine all along, even during pushing. The head was born pink and all was well, no nuchal cord either. But after the normal birth up to the head, the shoulders became stuck and nothing, no method would help free it. We did everything we could and everything there was to do, and meanwhile without delay emergency medical services were called, a neonatal ambulance as well as the regular paramedics. {Mother and baby} were taken to the hospital two minutes away, where two obstetricians and a midwife arduously managed to pull the poor little baby out. They could not resuscitate him any more.

During my 17 years of hospital obstetrics, similar situations did occur, when heroic measures of the attendants were necessary to help a baby into this world. Of these children some were permanently injured from hypoxia, and some even died. And this has also happened at home births abroad. Here in this country, never before.

My most sincere condolences. I am terribly sorry! We all have thought it over and over, what should have been done differently, where the error occured. We do not know. We do not understand.

Ágnes Geréb"
From a Hungarian news organization:
According to the head surgeon of the János Hospital, there was nothing to suggest this delivery would be any more dangerous than others, adding that he considered home births to be "flying blind," where one never knows what will happen.

The Hungarian law does not forbid home births, but the Chamber of Doctors finds it unacceptable, and so Ágnes Geréb has been expelled from the organization.


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