There is a term that has been getting attention lately in the medical and legal fields, although for most residents of Massachusetts and elsewhere, it’s still an unfamiliar term. “Obstetrical violence” is what some use to describe incidents of bullying or intimidation, forced C-sections or episiotomies or other unpleasant or traumatizing actions committed against mothers by medical staff in the labor room. Some of these actions may lead to the mother or infant sustaining birth injuries.
One woman endured a horrible experience after changing the hospital where she wished to give birth. She claimed that the facility’s promotional literature promised such amenities as birthing tubs and personalized alternative birth plans to promote a more relaxed labor and delivery. However, she did not have the experience she hoped for when she and her husband arrived at the center. Her doctor was not on call, and the nurse on staff told her that her room could not accommodate a tub. She was hooked up to wired monitors, instead of the wireless monitoring system the brochure promised. She repeatedly argued with the nurse about being able to labor on her hands and knees where she was more comfortable, while the nurse insisted she stay on her back.
When the baby’s head began to crown, a team of nurses physically forced the mother onto her back, and then one nurse pushed the infant’s head back into the birth canal for six more minutes before allowing him to be born. She also claimed she was given the labor drug Pitocin without her consent or knowledge.
As a result of the medical staff’s actions, the woman says she was left with a permanent nerve injury, pudendal neuralgia, which causes her excruciating daily pain. She also has post-traumatic stress disorder. In February 2014, the mother filed a lawsuit against the medical facility.
Source: Yahoo Parenting, “Woman Sues Hospital Over Traumatic Birth That ‘Turned Our Family Life Upside Down,'” Beth Greenfield, Nov. 19, 2015