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Vickie Sorensen – Natural Birth, Home Birth Midwifery and Deadly Consequences

Vickie Sorensen is one of the least talked about and deadliest breed of quacks out there.

Home Births are a hidden form of quackery. Wreathed in the language of female empowerment, bad statistics and anti-medical quackery home births have a rather deadly toll that is often not widely advertised and not often fought.

My “personal” anti-Obstetric nemesis is Mayer Eisenstein. A reknowned home and natural birth advocate. And a real doctor to boot. Mayer is brought out when the Natural and Home Birthers want a real doctor.

But the fact is that Mayer is a quack. A deadly quack. His untrained staff were responsible for a much higher mortality rate in his birthing centre. A staunch anti-vaccination advocate, Mayer in one case refused to give the Anti-Rh injection to a Rh -ve mother resulting in the death of her child. There are other children who have suffered birth injuries that were easily avoidable. Mayer has stopped arguing with me, because it’s impossible to argue when your foundation is shaky and your practice was quackery incarnate.

To point out how shady he was? He had a Medical Insurance from someone in Barbados and said Insurance was miniscule compared to what it should have cost to get coverage. In addition? During the trial for one of the deaths, he claimed the mother murdered her own child. He also blamed her anger for the cause of the child’s death.

He isn’t the only one. There are PROUD Home Birth Midwives who list deadly complications of pregnancy which they claim to have handled (My personal favourite? A midwife claimed she could deal with a case of Surprise Twins, Placenta Praevia and Pregnancy Induced Hypertension. 3 major issues with standard birth, two of which are indications for C-Section and one for strict medical intervention and preparation for C-Section.)

The entire dialogue boils down to “Home Births aren’t deadly, look at how few people die in home births”.

Never mind the fact that the most honest Home Birth Statistics show equal efficacy to Hospitals (remember, Doctors deal with more complications and if a Home Birth goes wrong the patient is sent to the hospital and falls on the Doctor’s stats).

Truly honest stats show a greater risk in home birth with anywhere from double to triple the risk of mortality and morbidity. If we combine anti-medicine quackery that normally associates itself with home birth such as the unwillingness to vaccinate (Rubella), untried supplements, no Vitamin K injections and anti-vaccination the number of complications spirals.

Vickie Sorensen was charged with manslaughter and two counts of reckless endangerment for the deaths caused during a “natural birth” that went wrong.

The parents were repeat customers, when the mother discovered she was pregnant again in May 2012. She decided to go to Sorensen again for pre-natal care. Sorensen estimated the due date as Feb. 18th, 2013. On December 18th, Sorensen was alleged to have failed to have transferred her client to a hospital when the woman  who was pregnant with twins began early labour. Sorensen insisted that the birth take place at her Cedar City Birth Centre. What ensued was a combination of incompetence, lack of equipment and quackery.

Let us first look at the risk of the pregnancy. Twin births are almost always an indication for C-Section because the risk of complications is simply too great. Sorensen is alleged to have assured the mother that this was a routine situation for her and that she has delivered enough twins to be considered an expert and that there was no danger. This began the series of quack decisions that cost the life of one child and nearly killed the other.

On the Morning of December 17, 2012. The mother woke with slight contractions. Sorensen advised her that this was merely the babies moving into the ideal position for birth and Sorensen said that she should just follow her prescribed diet which would maintain the birth. I repeat

A prescribed diet that retards birth. Instead of cervical cerclage or promoting lung development with betamethasone and tocolytics to enable a healthy birth. She was told (over the phone no less!) that the contractions were nothing and would stop if she slept.

When they got stronger, Sorensen finally asked the mother to come down to the birth centre. The mother’s cervix  was checked and she was told to go home and bathe in epsom salts. I cannot fathom the rationale.

When the mother returned to the center 2 hours later, Dr. Joe Holcomb tried to cease contractions with a tocolytic. MagSul. Magnesium Sulphate. Joe Holcolmb is not a real doctor. He is a naturopathic doctor. A quack.

Joe was inexperienced in treating with real medications and made errors with the IV. He either did not place the IV line appropriately or only gave half the recommended dose of the drug. MagSul is well known to many mothers who have hypertension. MagSul stops contractions and seizures.

Joe Holcomb was unaware of how to administer the medicine, he had to call the hospital to ask how and the dosage which he got wrong. Camille Wilcox, Sorensen’s Daughter also worked at the clinic and desperately called for another midwife as Sorensen was unavailable. Lily Ann Zerkle refused to take the case stating that the birth was high risk. She urged Wilcox and Sorensen to take the mother to the hospital to ensure safe delivery.

They wished to take the mother to the Dixie Regional Medical Center but the roads were too bad for a safe travel. When urged to use the local Cedar City Valley View Medical Center, the midwives refused stating that both Wilcox and Sorensen did not “like” that hospital. On an earlier interview at the Woman of Service, Wilcox said: “They don’t love us. They really treat our clients really horrible at this hospital. If it’s not an eminent problem then we will transfer to St. George.” I can only assume that the hospital doesn’t like taking botched home births and feels like I do. That the lay midwives push quackery that make the lives of doctors harder.

Zerkle felt concerned, so she warned Valley View staff. The first twin however was born at the Birth Centre. And was not healthy. The baby did not cry and made grunting noises as it tried to breathe. The Twin’s Grandmother was a paediatric nurse and was asked by Sorensen to assist in the CPR of the first child. The staff at the centre were inadequate to perform CPR on babies they were birthing. This alone should indicate an investigation into the rate of Cerebral Palsy at the birth centre due to the lack of CPR capacity. The grandmother mentioned the child was “blue” and cyanotic and not breathing. The baby was alive, the grandmother detected a faint heart beat.

Sorensen then proceeded to put an unknown liquid substance down the child’s throat while Wilcox began to look for an O2 bottle. There were others but they were empty or faulty. It sounds like the clinic was stacking them for show but not maintaining them. Sorensen did not have any positive airway pressure devices to help with blue babies. They had no suction  equipment to clear airway either. The DaLee suction device they had was not even sized for a neonate.

It was then that 911 was called. Not before any off this.

When discussing home birth, I always explained why ambulances are not a valid answer to “what if something goes wrong”. An  ambulance is an emergency service. It is a service for accidents. The natural birthers use it and claim it as a valid part of the chain of natural and home birthers. They proudly list ambulance transfers as successes. Roughly 15% of all home births end up with an ambulance transfer. 1 in 7 home births goes wrong. The call for an ambulance is not something to be relied on.

The ambulance took 10 minutes to reach there. A pretty good response time. But my question is this? How long can you hold your breath? Is it less than or greater than 10 minutes? That ten minutes is a pretty large amount of time.

When the medic showed up, he saw Sorensen performing CPR methods that were 12 years out of date and attempting to use a straw to provide suction.

The medic then proceeded to do what any medical transfer entails. A brief history. The salient and relevant points to a patient to help us understand what happened and a patient history. Mary Ann Rhodes (the Senior Medic) claimed that Sorensen did not know when the baby was born, the gestational age, duration of CPR. Sorensen says she was not present during the boy’s birth and claimed she “did not know any medical history of the mother or the baby because the parent had just walked in off the street”. In short? Sorensen attempted to absolve herself of suspicion and blame.

The medics took the baby and pulled away from the Birth Centre but stopped after the twin’s father and grandfather forced open the rear doors and pushed the mother into the ambulance. She was still bleeding heavily and still presenting an umbilical cord. The medics then began treatment on both her and the baby.

Sorensen had failed to to mention that the mother was having twins. This was only the first baby. As they drove away, the medics reported that they heard Sorensen yell for the mother to return back to the Centre to deliver the other baby. The ambulance drove on and ignored her. And this may have saved one child’s life and the mother’s.

The first twin was pronounced dead at Valley View Medical Center. The CPR was ineffective and the damage was too extensive. The second twin was delivered via C-Section and then both mother and child were transferred via emergency ambulance to the Dixie Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Both twins were in need of a critical ICU care and the mother required a slower delivery process which included a C-Section. The lack of which cost the life of one twin. Had they been delivered at a hospital? Both twins would have had a neaar 100% chance of survival. Sorensen’s actions were negligent and reckless and she and her staff showed a complete incapacity of dealing with birth complications. She was unable or unwilling to recognise a risky birth as such and her business lacked the basic systems needed for a safe delivery.

Her current bail stands at $50,000. And despite all this? She still has supporters.

“Vickie has been a competent, compassionate midwife for over 30 years,” Jones-Porter said on the GoFundMe site. “She has seen over 1,000 babies enter safely into this world, and has served women and babies with her whole heart and soul. She is now being accused of a truly horrendous crime that her gentle hands could never commit. Please show your love and support to Vickie by contributing to her legal fees and by posting words of encouragement for her to hear.” - From her fundraiser (PLEASE don’t donate. This is quackery and deadly quackery to boot. Read the comments to look at the dialogue within the home birther community ignoring the gross incompetence. When Mayer Eisenstein did this, we struck him off as a medical doctor)

I have known Vickie for the last 3-4 years and have worked in a shared space with her and have been around her on almost a daily basis. I have observed her love and compassion for the people she serves and helps on a daily basis. Her midwifery and health skills are a cut above most general practitioners and obstetricians. I have had occasion to talk with her on occasion about certain procedures or practices that are taught and “grandfathered in” in the typical hospital and some home births. As I recall she had been abroad for training in other countries where midwifery is more common than hospital births and their mortality rates are so much lower than our american hospitals. The bottom line is that Vickie is an asset to the alternative health community and to the midwifery community. If we don’t stand up and support her it will set precedence for future threats to peoples choice to choose a birth outside of the hospital.

This is the sort of lie that home birth practitioners tell their patients. Despite all the screw ups VIckie Sorensen made on this poor mother who fell for the lies, the doctors saved her and one of her children. A cut above most GP and Ob/Gynae? Only in the bizarre world where a 17% rate of failure is considered excellent and where the infant mortality is 3 times higher than hospital delivery, yet we still claim that it is a superior form of birth.

i work in a country where midwifery was more common than medicine. The death toll was astronomical until Obstetricians began operating.

If Vickie is an asset to the alt. med then you can see the level of incompetence, ignorance and danger they pose  to people whose only crime was to fall for the bullshit peddled and think Sorensen was a trained and skilled medic rather than a quack.

Support Vickie Sorensen Facebook page was also set up about “spreading only positives, good vibes and love” and to collect “Operation Midwife Crisis” donations.

“Vickie Sorensen a prominent midwife with over 30 years experience is in need of our support, Please help spread the love for a woman who has done so much for the community. Share your birth stories, natural health stories and words of support.”

Nice right?

One of the biggest issues with home birth is the low APGAR scores. In India, we ask children with cerebral palsies about their birth histories. Many of them are born to lay midwives such as Vickie Sorensen. Birth asphyxia.

We don’t know the current health of the second twin. More likely due to the fact it was a C-section, the child may have a good chance of not having the disorder. Let us be clear. One child is dead and one more nearly died as well as the mother due to the actions of someone who was out of her league with regards to competence and skills and technique. A quack masquerading as medicine caused the death of a child.

Comments

  1. brianiverson says

    Quackery seems to run on both sides of this issue. Data is sorely lacking in this article and also in others that support home birth.
    See: http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f3263
    Severe adverse maternal outcomes among low risk women with planned home versus hospital births in the Netherlands: nationwide cohort study BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f3263 (Published 13 June 2013
    Conclusions Low risk women in primary care at the onset of labour with planned home birth had lower rates of severe acute maternal morbidity, postpartum haemorrhage, and manual removal of placenta than those with planned hospital birth. For parous women these differences were statistically significant. Absolute risks were small in both groups. There was no evidence that planned home birth among low risk women leads to an increased risk of severe adverse maternal outcomes in a maternity care system with well trained midwives and a good referral and transportation system.
    Please note that the Netherlands has a very well developed Home birth with well trained midwives and screening for high risk pregnancies.
    Compare to
    Outcomes of planned home births with certified professional midwives: large prospective study in North America BMJ 2005; 330 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7505.1416 (Published 16 June 2005 Conclusions Planned home birth for low risk women in North America using certified professional midwives was associated with lower rates of medical intervention but similar intrapartum and neonatal mortality to that of low risk hospital births in the United States.
    This was a smaller study and only home births included were planned and utilized certified professional midwives and pregnancies were low risk.

    See: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/07/daily_beast_and_home_birth_fear_trumps_data_in_a_new_story_on_having_babies_at_home_.html Article focusing on one anti-home birther Amy Tuteur -a blogger & former MD.

    My suggestion is to gather something more than anecdotal data. It generally is very emotional and often biased. And any data used should be referenced – such as the 17% rate of failure and the 3 times greater rate of mortality.

  2. says

    Because planned hospital births are riskier in the Netherlands. The morbidity forces these women into hospitals.

    You aren’t comparing two equal populations, you are comparing women with pre-eclampsia, twins and other complications in with secondary para women.

    If we looked at primi-para women, the rate of hospitalisation of home birthers rises to 30%. 1 in 3 nearly.

  3. Holms says

    Oh hey I remember that Netherlands study in particular. Every time the subject of midwifery claptrap resurfaces, that same reference makes a return. It is pointed out on every occasion that it is not a fair comparison, but that criticism is guaranteed to be ignored.

    I am confident it will make a return the next time a midwife kills a baby out of quackery.

  4. hoary puccoon says

    I agree that homebirths are probably an unnecessary risk. But I think the medical profession bears a lot of responsibility for sending women in that direction. What I observed the last two, of three, pregnancies was a complete lack of interest or respect from my (male) OB/GYNs in what I was telling them about my own condition. In both pregnancies, their– well, basically, contempt– for my ability to report on what I was experiencing put me, and in pregnancy #3, my living child, at unnecessary risk. The timeline–

    Pregnancy #1– a healthy baby girl. But the entire labor, for a first child, was under 2 hours!
    Pregnancy #2– a missed abortion.(The fetus died but did not spontaneously abort.) I nearly died myself, because my “right to life” OBs refused to listen to my increasingly urgent statements that I could feel something had gone wrong with the pregnancy– because they didn’t want to perform an abortion. By the time they finally gave in to reality, my blood wasn’t clotting. I nearly bled out on the operating table.
    Pregnancy #3– Another healthy baby girl. But the delivery was performed in a completely unnecessary, frantic rush– because the attending OB/GYN didn’t listen to me for even the 30 seconds* it would have taken to understand I had experienced a precipitous labor with my first child and was quite sure I was going to deliver very quickly again. So he wandered off to dinner at about the time he should have been wheeling me into the delivery room.

    (*I had mentioned the fast first labor several times during doctor’s appointments, too. It should have been right there on my record.)

    If you’ve bothered to read this far, Avicenna, you might consider that the midwives who are encouraging homebirths are probably selling their woo by paying attention to their potential customers, listening to what they have to say, and making them feel they are the important part of the process, not an irritating bystander, butting in on the rightful territory of the medical profession.

    In my opinion, home births are a dangerous trend. But I think the medical profession has been a prime contributor to it.

  5. says

    I don’t think the ‘medical profession’ has been the prime contributor to it as much as basic misogyny has. I too, experienced an OB/GYN whose refusal to listen to what the woman was saying (if my husband repeated it, he magically heard that and it got noted in the chart) could have killed both me and my child if I hadn’t gotten fed up with his office’s inability to sort out insurance and gone elsewhere.

    This is especially true with the anti-women forced-birthing church-run hospitals. They don’t want to consider complications during pregnancy because doing so would force them to acknowledge that maybe giving birth isn’t all champagne and caviar, but a real and risky medical issue that does result in horrific complications fairly regularly.

    So they dismiss women, dismiss medical care for women, and generally turn a blind eye to anything that doesn’t meet their world view. Things that could be minor if dealt with early on become horrific because they don’t listen to the woman because her body doesn’t matter a bit to them. She’s not a person. It’s resulted in many women actively avoiding getting prenatal care because it’s too much trouble to get it, and they end up getting guilt tripped or dismissed if there is any sort of problem.

    At least with a home birth, we are often dealing with other women, who are more likely to listen and offer a bit of surface compassion. What we need is some ‘birthing centers’ that are actually staffed by competent medical professionals who don’t have their hands tied by misogynistic church officials.

    While I do have a number of medical factors that make future pregnancies unsafe, if I ever do turn up pregnant again my number one reason for getting an abortion is I don’t want to go through all the shit a misogynistic society puts pregnant women through.

  6. says

    @hoary puccoon and WithinThisMind – I think you are right on. Experiences of friends made me feel that the likelihood of spending the first few months of my child’s life in jail for assaulting a doctor would be pretty high. In their defense, our midwives were very clear that this was a riskier way to do things. They were brutally honest about how the pretty little scene that mom had in her head could become dark very fast. Still, it is a mother’s choice. If hospitals have created a scene that is so unwelcoming and dis-empowering and midwives can steer clear of fake medicine then women are well within their rights to make a calculated decision to accept the additional risk. I agree that the risk should be made very clear and poison like Sorensen and Eisenstein should be locked up.

  7. Karen Downer Herbert says

    Please take 3 minutes to watch this and hear our heartfelt message. Doula Dani put this video together to raise awareness. #notburiedtwice #homebirth Please share, folks. Her blog post with discussion is here http://tinyurl.com/klcl3pc

  8. hoary puccoon says

    So, I enter a long, heartfelt, personal post (@ 4) about my experiences trying to get proper medical care from OB/GYNs, and how maybe, just maybe, their refusal to listen to their patients is pushing women and couples to consider homebirth. Within This Mind follows up @ 5. And the response from Avicenna is– well, apparently he couldn’t take time out of his busy schedule to read posts from women who have actually given birth.

    I understand your back hurts, Avi. But, you know, I think you’ve pretty much made our point.

  9. says

    Hoary? Bite me. I wasn’t looking for a response from Avicenna because in the long run, he’s right. These ‘midwives’ are harmful quacks engaged in psuedoscience and are also frankly dehumanizing of women by also apparently believing that women do not deserve proper medical care and fuckiftheycare if the women die.

  10. Holms says

    Hoary, uwotmate? Yes, it *is* entirely possible that he couldn’t time out of his busy schedule as a doctor with real patients to reply to a post on his blog. You hit the nail on the head with that one, so I’m not sure why you conclude something on the lines of ‘therefore doctors are unfeeling’.

  11. says

    9. There are plenty of stories about midwives giving worse care and/or giving care without knowing what care actually entailed. So parents often thought they were getting good care while they were getting inferior care.

    What you are comparing is someone with time, low overheads, no liability treating someone in a way where anything goes. Satisfaction is all they do. Their entire plan is entrenched in satisfaction.

    But do you think satisfaction is a defence against quackery? Against all the women and babies who have been injured and silenced?

    I think the problem is that no one’s been willing to discuss this sort of quackery and listen. There are few people who even know that this exists.

  12. says

    I run a blog that tries to improve midwifery standards in our state. Please please please help me out if you can, the midwives are very organized and in lock step w/each other, anti-midwifery forces (OBs, moms like me who got hurt by midwifes) are few and far between.

    http://safermidwiferyutah.wordpress.com/

    thanks for covering this story. I can’t even get the local fox or abc affiliates to cover it.

  13. says

    I don’t think the ‘medical profession’ has been the prime contributor to it as much as basic misogyny has. I too, experienced an OB/GYN whose refusal to listen to what the woman was saying (if my husband repeated it, he magically heard that and it got noted in the chart) could have killed both me and my child if I hadn’t gotten fed up with his office’s inability to sort out insurance and gone elsewhere.

    That is the way that midwives fool clients. They pretend to be less capable of misogyny, but I know from first hand experience that they are just as bad (and in some ways worse because they aren’t accountable for their outcomes). They value other midwives and their own money much more than women or even our very lives when it comes down to it. If you want to get nauseated I suggest you google “power birth” and see some of the abuses midwives put laboring women through. The prevalence of forced vaginal examinations is really disgusting too.

  14. says

    It seems people here are unaware that home birth midwives are almost always anti-vaccine. They work with newborns and pregnant women and are against vaccines. It is appalling. If there was ever proof that they are quacks with inadequate training, its that it is difficult to find a home birth midwife who supports vaccination.

    One thing I want to point out to people on the fence here is that this patient, and many others, are much worse off with a home birth midwife than if they had gone unassisted. They tried to get help but were told it was fine. Over and over this is what I see- midwives saying everything is fine, and then OOPS someone dies or is injured and the midwife does every deceptive thing in her power to escape responsibility. Jessica Weed only injured a baby rather than killing it and she tried to lie about her involvement in the birth when the baby and mom had to go to a hospital. She gave money to this fundraiser. From Calling to Courtroom is a book especially for midwives about how to avoid being implicated in deaths, and it does advise midwives to lie to hospitals and investigators. This is standard of practice in midwifery, its not a rarity.

  15. hoary puccoon says

    I have had one friend I can think of who chose home birth. Her baby ended up in intensive care. That was in the Chicago area, where world-class medical care was close by. In a more remote area, she would have lost her daughter. Do you think I think that was a good thing??

    I think that home birth is a bad alternative, where standard medical care exists. (In remote areas of third-world countries, it is sometimes the only option.)

    However, I think a major contributor to the homebirth movement is the arrogance of many doctors. Remember, I was needlessly endangered– twice!– by properly certified OB/GYNs who were too arrogant to listen carefully to anything I said to them. And I’m not talking about blathering on about hairstyles and manicures. When it’s 7:00 pm and a woman repeatedly says, “I have precipitous labors. I’ll have this baby by 8:00,” wouldn’t you think that might cue the doctor not to wander off? He was furious, actually yelling at me for my lack of consideration for HIS dinner time, when I insisted the nurses call him back a few minutes later. Until he examined me. Then he went into panic mode. (My daughter was born at 7:41 pm.)

    Remember, the midwives are pushing woo. It’s their bread and butter to convince women they are the ones in charge, they don’t need all the interventions of Big Medicine. So the midwives listen, they make soothing, affirmative comments, they don’t yell at the mothers for interrupting their dinners– and my friend’s kid ended up in intensive care.

    I am absolutely not advocating homebirth. But when doctors are so out of touch with their patients that they’re screaming at them for interrupting their dinner for a minor, little medical issue like giving birth, they create the situation that the woomeisters have exploited.

    Criticizing women for being so stupid and irrational as to listen to the woomeisters makes the situation worse. Women think, “doctors just call me stupid and irrational. My wonderful midwife tells me I’m smart and capable, and my body has some kind of mystical, natural knowledge that will make it all come out all right.” And the kid ends up in intensive care. If she’s lucky.

    I am absolutely not advocating for homebirth. I am advocating for the medical community taking some damn responsibility for the ways they are inadvertently pushing women to consider it.

  16. says

    Except the midwives are just as if not more arrogant. I mean?

    Doctors are arrogant with their skills. The midwives are arrogant without.

    Another recent case had two midwives manage to do something spectacular.

    Maternal Mortality. Post Partum Haemorrhage. Why? They just told the mother that the blood loss was normal and the mother died on the table.

    Maybe in 1914 this would be a problem. Not in today’s world. The arrogance of the midwives was just as high, except there is a real cost to their arrogance.

    And I pointed out that Vicki Sorenson was so arrogant she thought she could deliver a twin delivery sans C-Section even after she had to call for assistance.

    Compare the two? One’s a bit irritated because they have had a long, stressful (bear in mind home birth midwives often do as many deliveries a week as I do in a day) day in a high stress job maybe without food and is a bit miffed about it.

    The other one is so arrogant that they thought they were competent when they clearly were woefully under prepared, under skilled and just plain wrong.

  17. says

    —-That is the way that midwives fool clients—

    Indeed, that’s why I referred to it as ‘surface compassion’. It’s not really compassion, it’s the same old bullshit, only they dress it up as ‘empowering’ just like it’s supposed to be ‘empowering’ to be a submissive wife according to the Pearls.

  18. says

    —-However, I think a major contributor to the homebirth movement is the arrogance of many doctors. Remember, I was needlessly endangered– twice!– by properly certified OB/GYNs who were too arrogant to listen carefully to anything I said to them.—-

    You get this shit with midwives too. They are just nicer and assure you everything is fine with a warm smile on their faces, but it’s still an arrogant brush-off because they are convinced they know best. A lot of them don’t even believe the woo they are selling, they just want the check and play the role. I’d call them whores but that’s an insult to sex-workers who do actually provide a useful service.

    Think about it – if they weren’t convinced they know best, they wouldn’t be offering their services at all during a home-birth.

    The problem is misogyny, which exists just as much in the medical community as it does in the midwife community (and for that matter, the whole community). If women were actually permitted to control their own bodies, we wouldn’t be having this problem in the first place.

  19. Holms says

    —-However, I think a major contributor to the homebirth movement is the arrogance of many doctors. Remember, I was needlessly endangered– twice!– by properly certified OB/GYNs who were too arrogant to listen carefully to anything I said to them.—-

    You get this shit with midwives too. They are just nicer and assure you everything is fine with a warm smile on their faces, but it’s still an arrogant brush-off because they are convinced they know best.

    Additionally, if the homebirth patient’s health is deteriorating, the home birther will frequently call an ambulance, pack the possibly dying patient off to hopsital, and now the death is taken as a mark against ‘team mainstream medicine’.

  20. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Look, the bottom line here is the question
    Do you want to do something about this? Or do you just want to argue against midwifery?

    I’m someone who had an unassisted homebirth many years ago. The very brief reason for that was I wasn’t going to be abused (yes, abused) by medical staff again.

    I chose this despite knowing what could go wrong, and knowing that it was dangerous for both me and the baby. I still feel that it was my right to make that choice (although maybe with more years of healing behind me, I might make a different choice today than I did then).

    I think it’s clear that there is a market for homebirths. I would say the main question to ask about the topic is why does this need exist? Not everyone who chooses a homebirth is stupid, or ignorant, or uninformed, or selfish, or whatever else you want to use to dismiss them. There are real problems in the medical model of care that doctors who claim to want to address the issues surrounding homebirths refuse to even consider or question.

    Could more be done to prosecute and de-register (? or whatever) homebirth midwives who are unsafe? Absolutely, and this must be done. Does the midwifery model of care have problems? Absolutely, and they are HUGE. Is homebirth more risky than hospital birth? I’m sure it is.

    Yet people still choose that, or go so far as choosing to give birth without assistance (although to be fair, in my country it’s often not so much a *choice* as a failure of care).

    Ignoring the role that doctors and hospitals played to establish this kind of counter movement in favour of attacking only one side of the issue seems like a good way to go nowhere.

    Women have the right to choose whatever birth they want, and until you can bring more to the table than argumentation and judgement, they will continue to choose home births or unassisted births.

    If doctors want to fix this, they will have to start LISTENING to the women who gave birth, like Hoary Puccoon, like Skeptifem, like me who speak out. Not argue, not judge, LISTEN.

    Until this happens, or until an alternative model of care is implemented where people aren’t scammed and scarred by either side of the existing models, people will still flock to homebirth, and by implication, homebirth midwives or even unassisted births.

  21. says

    That reflects a lot of the reasons I chose to try and give birth out of hospital, but the nasty surprise waiting for me was that midwives are the same way, they are just less accountable. When I’ve talked to unassisted childbirth folks a lot of them say that is why the UC, they tried a midwife and were disappointed (or traumatized…) so they went on their own.

    I wish there was some kind of law that made violating female bodily autonomy a real financial threat to health care providers, on par with other forms of malpractice. The laws are formulated to protect providers and make it difficult to sue. Its pretty terrible.

  22. says

    Parents also have the ‘right’ to not vaccinate their children. That doesn’t stop the fact that those who refuse to vaccinate are stupid, and ignorant, and uninformed, and selfish. Come to think of it, there is a lot of overlap in the homebirth/anti-vax movement. I think it also has to do with how women are markedly discouraged away from science and math, making it more difficult for them to understand the difference between psuedoscience and actual facts.

    —-Ignoring the role that doctors and hospitals played to establish this kind of counter movement in favour of attacking only one side of the issue seems like a good way to go nowhere. —

    Why are you stuck on the idea that acknowledging most midwives are quacks is the same as ignoring that misogyny is a major issue in medical care?

    We are feminists, here. This is an issue we are working on. But while we are draining this lake with our teaspoons, let’s also do something about the quacks killing mothers and children.

  23. dianne says

    The laws are formulated to protect providers and make it difficult to sue.

    Are you serious? Consider the “subjective patient” standard for informed consent. It basically says that the patient has been properly consented if everything that he or she would want to know about the procedure has been explained. Sounds pretty reasonable at first. Until you consider that it makes informed consent impossible because it’s impossible to prove that you told the patient everything she or he could want to know. OBs have been sued, successfully, for saying, as part of the consent process, that one of the risks of refusing a c-section is that the baby could die but not saying to the patient that HER baby could die. Does this sound like a system formulated to protect the providers? A completely screwed up system that screws over both providers and patients I’ll agree with (it’s hard for a patient to sue a DEM, for example, because they don’t carry malpractice insurance and few lawyers will be willing to bother with a case where they know they won’t make money), but claiming it’s slanted towards protecting providers? No, I don’t see that one.

  24. dianne says

    TMI, maybe, but…I had a birth by c-section. Emergency c-section. As in, they started cutting before the anesthesia had completely kicked in kind of emergency (it was only proprioception, not pain, so it wasn’t really bad, just weird). All because the baby’s head was just tilted just slightly wrong and so she couldn’t come out vaginally. This wasn’t something that could have been predicted, diagnosed before labor, or prevented. It was just a fluke. Nonetheless, if I’d been at home we would both have died. I’ve pointed this out to people in the NCB movement. They’ve told me that I should have stayed home and died because my surviving and reproducing was weakening the species evolutionarily. Feminism. Yeah. Thanks, sisters.

    I do not mistake this view for the view of the entire NCB movement but it’s definitely there. Eugenics is one undercurrent in a lot of the NCB movement, i.e. Grantly Dick-Read.

  25. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    @Withinthismind

    I think it also has to do with how women are markedly discouraged away from science and math, making it more difficult for them to understand the difference between psuedoscience and actual facts.

    Holy shit, seriously? Jesus fucking christ.

    Also, you can call them whatever you want, it still doesn’t address the point I made that many people who do choose home births or unassisted births do so already knowing the facts and choosing it regardless. You can’t just go “nah, theyre stupid, ignorant, uninformed and selfish” because it often isn’t actually accurate

    Why are you stuck on the idea that acknowledging most midwives are quacks is the same as ignoring that misogyny is a major issue in medical care?

    Because I don’t actually see anyone who discusses this issue addressing this. Case in point, the OP. And until it is addressed, people will choose to avoid medical care they may need and you can’t force it on them.

    We are feminists, here. This is an issue we are working on. But while we are draining this lake with our teaspoons, let’s also do something about the quacks killing mothers and children.

    I agree that something should be done about quacks killing mothers and children. I’m just pointing out that until the underlying cause of the problem is addressed, these quacks will continue to have a steady stream of clients – unless you suggest outlawing home birth in its entirety, which is a different discussion.

    @Dianne

    OBs have been sued, successfully, for saying, as part of the consent process, that one of the risks of refusing a c-section is that the baby could die but not saying to the patient that HER baby could die.

    That is ridiculous and bizarre and totally unjust.

    I’ve pointed this out to people in the NCB movement. They’ve told me that I should have stayed home and died because my surviving and reproducing was weakening the species evolutionarily. Feminism. Yeah. Thanks, sisters.

    Jesus, that’s ridiculous and bizarre and fucking awful! I’m so sorry that was done to you, it’s inexcusable.

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