Birth wars

This post is a must-read for everyone. I won’t comment on it, so as not to detract from it, nor to take any extra time — except to say, it’s from Australia, so aside from a few things that pertain strictly to that country, it could be written about America. Just go read it. Here’s a teaser:

YOU’RE in the dentist’s chair with a painful tooth, feeling fragile.

“That tooth has to come out,” says the dentist.

“I’ll give you an anaesthetic and extract it.”

You’re surprised – you had hoped the tooth would be all right – but you nod and say something like “Ungh-hnghm” through a mouthful of cotton wool and dentist fingers. After all, he’s the expert.

The dentist turns to prepare the needle, when a dental technician leans over and whispers in your ear: “You know you don’t have to do what he says.

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. What about root canal? Or homoeopathic remedies? And anyway, you don’t need an anaesthetic.

“There’s a dentist next door who does acupuncture and hypnosis for pain relief. It’s much safer. Oh, and did you know fluoride is toxic?”

The dentist snaps at her to stop: “Ignore her – she’s pushing her own agenda.”

Tense, stressed and utterly confused, you lie back, open your mouth and look up at two medicos glaring at one another.

Who is in charge here? What’s the real truth? And why didn’t anyone tell you there was some sort of power struggle going on?

Of course, this doesn’t happen in dental surgeries. Open hostility between clinicians would be madness, serving only to baffle patients and undermine the whole purpose of creating healthy smiles.

But this is exactly what happens in maternity care, every day, in birth centres, hospitals and homes. Hostility, suspicion, mistrust, abuse and vitriol abound in relationships between obstetricians and midwives, clinicians, academics and activists.

h/t to Sidney Midwife for the link

One Response

  1. Wow…well written I’d say…

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