Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Doctor's 2007 Interview Balanced and Measured

I hadn't heard this interview with Jeffrey Ecker MD before, though I had read the accompanying paper in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

What stands out for me in particular is his support of maternal request, and also his response to being asked whether he's concerned about rising caesarean rates; he says:

"I guess I'm more interested than concerned.

"I think a lot of this is decisions that patients and doctors make together, and when you make decisions about risks there's no one right answer, and really I think what's changed is that we've reset our threshold for what acceptable risk is."

You can listen to the full (7 minute) interview here, in which Jeffrey Ecker (an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and an obstetrician at Massachusetts General Hospital) talks to Rachel Gotbaum (an independent producer based in Boston) about the contributors to the increase in cesarean deliveries.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Warning that Cost Cutting will Risk Babies' Lives

'Babies ‘at risk’ as NHS runs short of paediatricians', warns the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in The Sunday Times today.

In Martyn Halle and Robin Henry's report, cuts to public services are criticized by interviewees, as are the NHS' efforts to save tens of millions of pounds.

My thoughts on this:

The juxtaposition of the NHS trying to save millions of pounds alongside accusations of risking babies' lives couldn't be more ironic to those of us who have watched as the NHSLA racked up billions of pounds in litigation paid (and still owed) to families whose babies (and/or mothers) were injured (or died) during their maternity care.

The push for normal birth at any cost, and the desire to reduce caesarean rates to entirely arbitrary percentage rate targets, have endangered the lives of countless babies. Perhaps if warnings by charities and maternity care organisations had been heeded years ago, the NHS could have made savings by reducing its litigation bill, instead of reducing neonatal care provision...?