Monday, October 29, 2007

Low risk is not no risk and another baby dies

Yet another tragic story, this time about the risk of postdates. What is truly mind boggling about this account is that even though the blogger knows that ignoring the doctor's advice led to the death of the baby, she still believes that it was appropriate to ignore the doctor's advice.
One of the girls ... was expecting her 2nd child ... after her daughter was born by unplanned c-section. She's fought so hard to be able to even try for a VBAC. Her doctor was unsupportive, her family unsupportive, but she knew what she wanted, she knew what was safest for her and her baby, so she was fighting for her VBAC. We were all rooting her on, and I just KNEW she was going to get that VBAC!

She has a history of her pregnancies going post-dates. She carried her daughter to 42 weeks, then ended up with an induction-turned-c/section, just like I did. So when her due date came and went, she wasn't concerned. Of course, her doctor just wanted to section her and get it over with telling her how "risky" VBAC is (...what a crock!). But [she] continued to be strong and stand up for herself. She insisted that her doctor give her until 42 weeks since she carried her daughter that long and knew that this baby would probabbly come late as well.

She reached 42 weeks on October 15th. She was starting to feel a little discouraged but we all just kept telling her she's almost there, just a few more days, she can't do it, won't be long now, etc. She was doing fine...

She had a doctor's appointment yesterday. They wanted to do an ultrasound to check on the fluid levels and make sure the baby wasn't too large...

... The ultrasound showed no heartbeat. Her baby had died in utero. She was going to have a c-section at 8:00 that night... (my emphasis)
Postdates has a KNOWN risk of preventable neonatal death; VBAC has a KNOWN risk of preventable neonatal death. The risks are low, but low risk is not no risk. The doctor wanted to proceed with a C-section at 42 weeks, trying to avoid a preventable neonatal death. The mother refused and the baby died, just as the doctor had warned.

Had the mother followed the doctor's medical advice, she would have had a repeat C-section and a live baby. Then she almost certainly would have bewailed her "unnecessary" C-section. Now, instead, she has to bury her baby.

How many avoidable tragedies have to happen before women understand that low risk is not no risk?


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