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Lawsuit highlights little-known example of “obstetrical violence”

Labor and delivery is usually a difficult process for expectant mothers in Rhode Island, even when everything goes right. If something goes wrong in the delivery room, the results can be devastating. The frightening experience of an Alabama mother brings to light a complication in hospitals that most pregnant mothers don’t ever expect to happen. Obstetrical bullying, or birthing room violence, is a little-known occurrence that may injure mothers or infants.

In this example, the mother filed a lawsuit against the hospital where she had her baby, claiming the birthing staff abused her and left her with debilitating, lifelong damage. The woman, 32 years old at the time, changed the hospital where she wanted to have her baby after she saw brochures claiming this particular birthing center honored personalized birthing plans and offered amenities to mothers in labor. However, things did not turn out as expected in the delivery room. Instead of the warm bathtub and the wireless monitoring promised in the facility’s advertisement, she was told a tub was unavailable and was hooked up to wired monitors. When she got on her hands and knees to ease her pain during labor, a team of nurses forcibly turned her onto her back. One nurse pushed her son’s head back into the birth canal and delayed his birth for six minutes – an action that may have caused an injury to the infant. She also found out she was given the labor inducing drug Pitocin without consent. During the ordeal, her own doctor was not on call.

The mother was left with a permanent nerve injury call pudendal neuralgia, which causes excruciating pain. She also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Source: Yahoo Parenting, "Woman Sues Hospital Over Traumatic Birth That 'Turned Our Family Life Upside Down,'" Beth Greenfield, Nov. 19, 2015

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