Informed refusal = lose the baby?

This post disturbed me, but I was unable to find independent verification of it — no other news reports, no online articles, nothing but this blog’s post. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

Here is the first post, and here is the second post.

In brief, a New Jersey mom went to a hospital with a 50%+ C-section rate, and was asked to sign a consent form for a possible C-section (I think this was upon admission — but definitely with no medical indications that a C-section might be necessary), and the woman and her husband were turned over for an investigation for child abuse and neglect, although the woman gave birth vaginally and the baby was perfectly fine. They had a hearing where their parental rights were terminated — because the judge thought if the woman got argumentative with the hospital staff over an unnecessary C-section, she might argue with the child’s pediatrician or school teacher in the future. Um, yeah.

I daresay I would be more than a little argumentative — doctors and teachers are fallible, so it would be ridiculous for all parents to just meekly submit to whatever the “authorities” say, particularly when they might be wrong. I would think if this were me, I’d be in contact with any and every news service I possibly could to tell my story and generate publicity in my favor and negative publicity for the hospital. Which makes me wonder why I couldn’t find anything else but this one blog that told the story. Of course, there may have been some sort of “gag order” or the parents may be private people and not wanting to draw so much attention to themselves.

So… what do you all say? “Impossible — it must be a prank”? “Horrifying, but I could see that happening”? What?

16 Responses

  1. Well Kathy, I have been around the block, and the story definitely sounds fishy to me. I would love to learn more. A 50% C/S rate in any hospital is crazy. The hospital should be investigated. Something that really worried me was the second post about the nurses being angry and “bruising” the baby. I have had parents accuse staff of bruising their babies when they see mongolian spots. The other outrageous allegation was an infant suffering a “severed leg” from a C-Section. Never, ever have I heard of this. Facial lacerations yes, but a severed leg? Uhm, no. If this is true, this NJ hospital sounds like Dr. Frankenstein’s lab to me. I really hope this story is false.

    • Could it have been a cut on the leg from a breech birth? I’ve heard that cuts are more common with cesareans for breech.

      • Jenn,

        I suspect that it probably was just a cut on the leg — maybe minor, maybe severe — and for whatever reason got blown out of proportion. Considering the court document in this case, and the charges against the woman for her erratic behavior even after birth, I wonder if this was a case of “the gossip game” exaggerating things as it passed down a chain from one person to another, or if the mom herself exaggerated the claim.

        I like your take on the case — it’s troubling on both sides; but the parents’ refusal or inability to go to the hearing to get their child back is a huge obstacle in my mind. I simply cannot comprehend it, unless there is some lie or deception in the documents (which is possible).

  2. Unfortunately, that story is true. You can confirm it with the leaders of the NJ ICAN groups. http://www.ican-online.org. You can also confirm it with the now former president of ICAN. Lynn Paltrow of National Advocates for Pregnant Women can also confirm (she was at the hearings).

    The court case is in dispute and the mother’s lawyer does not want the public to know about it and, hence, not bias the judges. The mother feels differently but has little means to go public especially since her lawyer will not allow her to.

    As far as the cesarean rates in NJ, they are listed here: http://www.starledger.com/str/indexpage/environment/hospitals.asp up to the year 2006 and can be confirmed by contacting the NJ Center for Heath Statistics.

  3. This story doesn’t sound true to me. I can’t believe a baby was taken away from his mother for refusing a C-section. Either there is a lot more to the story, or it’s not true. However, I have heard of hospitals in NJ that have a c-section rate in the upper 40’s.

  4. Kathy–this is real. I posted about it on the CfM blog early this month (with link to same blog post as you did, since that is also all I could find online–I have had private emails about it that are verifiable. NAPW is working on her case and asked CfM to sign on to the “amicus brief” for it).
    😦

    Molly

  5. i can believe the hospital reporting her.

    the rest… if true, i’m inclined to believe that the other issues briefly mentioned regarding the mother are being dramatically understated.

    and media watch the courts as well… i’m thinking there would have been some mention of this even if not alerted by the mother…. and at least a court case number given. though i also don’t think they would be likely to withhold the parents names in the court case, as usually the only reason to do so is if they are a victim of a sexual crime or a child.

  6. “severed a leg with a knife?” What do they think we use to get the baby out? A c-section is not done with a chain saw. WTF?

  7. Yes, unfortunately, this story is real. You can confirm with several sources: The NJ ICAN chapter leaders, the former president of ICAN (Pam) and Lynn Paltrow at NAPW. The case is in appeal so mom is not allowed to talk about it publically. I’m not sure if that’s a legal issue but I know the mom’s lawyer does not want the judges biased by a public story. Parent’s names were withheld on court documents (they were simply referred to as initials). Mom’s lawyer didn’t even want that blog post to stand but mom felt differently so it was republished.

  8. Real… horrifying.

  9. This is why I am a pro-lifer voting pro-choice. To have authorities decide what I can do with my baby when is horrifying. There are a few incidents I have read of where a woman’s choice was circumvented because of the rights of the baby. Interesting how you are allowed to kill a baby but have no choice in how you give birth.

  10. Actually Maria, if we gave fetuses the same rights as people who are already born, we couldn’t force a cesarean on women. You can’t force sugery on a person for someone else. As a mother, no one can force me to undergo surgery to give a kidney or even donate blood to my child (I WOULD of course but no one can make me). Basically, it’s beyond a pro-choice or pro-life issue. It’s about birthing choices.

    Here is the court report on this case: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a4627-06.pdf

  11. DMR — Wow, what a document! The mother’s false statements (assuming they were accurately reported, and not skewed) seem to support the court’s decision. But her and her husband’s declining to take simple steps that might reunite them with their baby is incomprehensible to me. Reading through the document, I can see myself firing the doctor and being perhaps harsh and unyielding, so in some ways I can sympathize with her plight. What a story!

  12. I blogged about this case as well: http://knittedinthewomb.com/wp/?p=497

  13. Another take on this case — this time from a social worker who was contacted by VBAC Facts, and granted permission for her letter to be printed.

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