Friday, November 20, 2009

Another delayed cesarean. Another baby dies.

In the NHS in England, as many as 14.9% of planned vaginal deliveries result in an emergency cesarean. Time and time again, we hear that this number is too high, that national cesarean rates should be lowered, and that some of the 9.7% planned cesareans are unnecessary too.

Well, reading this story in The Telegraph today, it becomes all too clear what can happen when a cesarean is delayed (or not carried out):

Tragically, 'Lewis Connolly lived for just four hours and died in the arms of his mother Eleni, 33. Mrs Connolly and her husband Steven, 29, were told at an inquest that their baby's death was avoidable.'

Prevent this happening to another child
The report explains how 'Lewis ended up lodged so firmly in the womb that a doctor at North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton, north London, fractured his skull in a desperate bid to free him with a pair of forceps.'

'Guidelines state a baby should be delivered within three hours of the mother reaching second stage. But an emergency Caesarean section was not carried out until 2.36pm, more than five hours later.

The parents have said they 'hope that these events will prevent it from happening to anybody else', and I would completely agree with them.

Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that they will, and I remain concerned that women in antenatal classes are simply not being fully informed of the true and real risks of planning a vaginal delivery. Not that all women should or would want to choose surgery instead; only that both types of delivery have their own set of risks, and to over-exaggerate one set and under-state another is wrong.

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