The recent article published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) dated 26 April 2019, highlighted some concerning comments made by Private Healthcare Australia (PHA), the private health insurance industry’s representative body, about caesarean sections which were performed without medical or obstetric indication. The MJA article highlighted that PHA considered that because a significant percentage of caesarean sections did not have a medical or an obstetric indication they should be considered to be ‘harmful care’ for which benefits should not be paid.
Choosing the best option
The article raised the important issue about who should decide what type of birth a woman should have. Most women and their doctors would agree that the woman, guided by her medical team, should choose the best option for her and her baby, as opposed to an insurance company seeking the most cost effective option. A woman who is fully appraised of all the risks associated with both a caesarean section and a natural / vaginal birth is the best person to decide what type of birth suits her.
What are the risks?
Interestingly the risks associated with natural births, particularly instrumental births, such as forceps or a vacuum extraction are often not made clear to women. While many would argue that a natural birth is the best option for the mother and the baby, it is important for women to consider the risks posed by a natural delivery. Many women sustain traumatic injuries as a result of a natural delivery. Maternal birth trauma injuries are often hidden and not discussed as the symptoms can be embarrassing for the injured woman, these can include; urinary and faecal incontinence, inability to engage in intercourse and debilitating pain and discomfort together with post-natal depression.
While a natural delivery may be the more cost effective option, it is not without its risks and we would argue that pregnant women should be advised about the risks associated with both a caesarean section and a natural delivery to be able to make an informed decision with the treating medical team about the option which will best suit the pregnant woman.
If you have been a victim or suffered loss as a result of medical negligence, call us today to speak to our friendly team.