"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke, 18th century Philospher.

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of it being right." Thomas Paine

"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants." Albert Camus

"Choice is the essence of ethics: if there were no choice there would be no ethics, no good, no evil; good and evil have meaning only insofar as man is free to choose." Margaret Thatcher, March 14, 1977

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” ― Upton Sinclair

Explaining the Cause

I am a practicing obstetrician who is a strong supporter of patients rights to informed consent and refusal. I believe a patient has the right to choose her own path given true and not skewed informed consent. Following that tenet, just as a woman should be able to choose to have an elective c/section she should be able to choose not to have one, as well. The American system of hospital based obstetric practice has been eroding those choices for women for quite some time. Due to concerns of economics, expediency and fears of litigation women are being coerced to make choices that may not be in their best interest.

I have had a long relationship collaborating with midwives and find the midwifery model of care to be evidenced based and successful. I was well trained at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the mid 80's to perform breech deliveries, twin deliveries, operative vaginal deliveries and VBACs, and despite evidence supporting their continued value, hospitals are "banning" these options. Organized medicine is also doing its best to restrict the availability of access to midwives.

Home birthing is not for everyone but informed choice is. Medical ethics dictates that doctors have a responsibility and a fiduciary duty to their patients to provide true, not skewed, informed consent and to respect patient autonomy in decision making. Countries with the best outcomes in birthing have collaboration between doctors and midwives. This is not what has been happening in the hospitals of America. Its time for a change and the return of common sense.

The midwifery model of care supports pregnancy as a normal function of the female body and gives a legitimate and reasonable alternative to the over-medicalized model of birth that dominates our culture. Through this blog I hope to do my part to illuminate what is wrong with our maternity care system and what is right with it. I do not expect all to agree and that is OK. We must all understand that given honest data it is not always reasonable to expect two people to come to the same conclusion. Our differences should be respected.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Panel Discussions and Thank Yous

So many people to thank for their efforts this weekend. Saturday, the Sanctuary Birth and Family Wellness team sponsored a panel discussion after viewing 3 films, Laboring Under an Illusion, Guerilla Midwife and Orgasmic Birth, at the Santa Monica Library. The Q and A session was vigorous and well received. Thanks to Clara for her excellent work putting it together and to the staff at the library.

Today, I spoke on a panel discussing pregnancy, birth and child development in the context of nurturing the next generation of leaders at the Leaders Causing Leaders Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center. A very inspiring group joined me in sharing our stories and insights. Thanks to Cecily, Karen, Anna, Susan and Ishmael for their selfless and amazing contributions to the betterment of future generations. I was honored to be included amongst these visionaries.

Oh, and lastly, thanks to TIVO, Bret Farve and The Minnesota Vikings for finally pulling one out after making me a nervous wreck. And to beautiful sunsets like the one we had this evening. And to my daughter, Madeleine, who did a great job singing a Guns and Roses song at her recital this evening. It was a great weekend. Dr. F

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