Hospital policies are negotiable?

February 10, 2010 in Birth, Birth Care Provider, Birth Location, Choose Wisely, VBAC

Just thought I’d share: hospital policies aren’t always non-
negotiable, though they tell you they are.  When I was pushing for a
natural vbac in the only hospital available to me at the time, I put
up a good fight and compromises were made in my favor.

The hep-lock discussion reminded me of this. In that particular
hospital it was required that I receive all my fluids via IV, and I
fought back using their own evidence to prove my point. I was granted
a hep lock and natural hydration if I so wanted it. Huge victory!  It
didn’t come easy, but they will at least hear you out if you’re making
educated arguments in favor of what you want.

For this pregnancy, my fifth vbac, the OB informed me that it was
policy that all vbac moms get their water broken and an IFM upon
admission. I told him he was crazy, illogical, and asking for trouble,
and why, using medically sound arguments in his medical language.  A
month later he came back and said he and the partners in the practice
would honor my request for EFM instead.

I think they don’t budge because they’re not used to having to! And
many have confessed that they see hundreds of moms a month who have no
clue about anything.

I told my OB, “I understand you’ve always done it a certain way, and
you’ve been trained a certain way, but I want to encourage you to
think for yourself, because what you’re insisting on doesn’t even make
logical sense!  I know you fear someone is going to sue you for a bad
outcome, but I’m not one of those people. I believe in personal
responsibility. I’m prepared to accept the consequences of my choices
and the fact that sometimes there’s nothing anyone can do anyway. But
I want that choice!!”

Boy can I tell you stories! That first hospital I mentioned gave me
the run around! I even went so far as to go to the public relations
office to get a copy of the patients rights and responsibilities that
I saw hanging up on all the walls.
They never had a request for that
before and didn’t even have a copy to give me. So I had them take the
framed one off the wall and photocopy it. I took it to a private
meeting with the head if OB/GYN and pointed to the right that says
“The patient has the right to refuse most treatment.”. I asked her to
define “most treatment” and she gave me a laundry list of what I,
personally, didn’t have the right to refuse because I was a vbac.
Among some of these was the IV, augmentation if labor if I didn’t stay
on average, and continuous EFM. If my husband wasn’t there to calm me
down I would have given her a piece of my mind.

To make a long story short, I got what I wanted.  And the second in
charge of the hospital called us in for a meeting, apologized for the
behavior of those “young doctors who think they can just tell you what
to do” and admitted the “policies” unfortunately are really individual
doctors’ preferences.
Oh, I had my natural vbac, (made some
compromises for their sake on some things) and had some lofty big-wig
visitors the next day, congratulating me on getting what I wanted!

So that’s why I typically encourage moms to educate themselves,
believe in what they want and why, and if they have the courage, speak
up for themselves. It’s the only way to change the system. :-)

Angela in VA

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