Most would assume that injuries that occur during childbirth are more likely to affect the baby. While that remains true in a number of cases, it should also be remembered that the mother goes through quite a bit of stress, as well. Procedures performed to assist with delivery can take their toll on a woman. Most women would likely agree to anything that would help ensure a safer delivery. However, that assumption should never be made by clinical staff. The woman or her representatives should still be involved in any decision making before a procedure is performed.
An alleged lack of informed consent is at the center of a recent lawsuit involving care given at an Army hospital in Kentucky. The patient claims that the nurse-midwife supervising her delivery chose to perform an episiotomy without first informing her of the decision or asking for consent. While such a procedure is not uncommon during childbirth, the woman's attorney indicated a desire on her part to have been able to discuss alternatives. She was never given that chance. Unfortunately, her incision failed to heal properly, leading to health issues that have threatened her career as an opera singer.
While patients are asked to trust in the knowledge and skill of their healthcare providers, they are still the ones who should have the final say regarding their care. The unintended consequences of a surgical error can drastically alter a patient's life. That the decision to perform such a procedure was not his or her own can compound that patient's suffering even further. In such a case, he or she may also wish to retain an attorney in order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Source: Military Times "Lawsuit: Botched childbirth operation ruined Army wife's opera career" Joe Gould, Jan. 21, 2014