Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Yet another disastrous outcome on MDC

Anyone hoping to learn about the safety of homebirth should spend some time on the MDC boards. Yet another homebirth disaster is currently being discussed. The bad outcomes are so common and so similar that there is practically an approved formula for writing about them:

First the mother writes in to ask for advice about postdates or another potential complication. Others write back inane posts of "support" advising the mother to ignore everything that is known about the issue, and just "trust" birth. This always includes the obligatory "I ignored medical advice and things turned out fine for me" posts.

Then there is the terse, shocked post announcing the bad outcome, in this case a baby born not breathing, and subsequently found to have been rendered severely brain damaged.

Third, there is the detailed birth story. In this case, the birth story was deleted by the moderators because it could pose a legal risk to the midwife (because, of course, the feelings of the midwife are more important the safety of her patients).

Fourth, there are the countless heartbreaking posts about the seizures, the inability to nurse or to bottle feed, the minor triumphs when the EEG is not as bad as it was before.

Finally, there is the quest to "process" the "bad birth experience".

Here's what I'd like to know:

Doesn't every person who counseled the mother to "trust" birth have a moral requirement to take ownership of her appallingly bad advice and apologize? Shouldn't every woman who encouraged "trusting" birth acknowledge her share of responsibility for encouraging the mother?

Can we recognize the deleting of birth stories with bad outcomes for what it is? It is nothing more than a blantant, self serving attempt to prevent women from learning what really happens at homebirth and a morally repugnant attempt to shield direct entry midwives from responsibility regardless of whether or not they pose a danger to other women.

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