Wondering Wednesday: Can an OB fire a Patient during birth?

This is the first in my Wondering About Series, feel free to e-mail any questions you may have to sheridan AT enjoybirth DOT com.

I know pregnant women have a right to informed consent regarding procedures done in the hospital, and a right to refuse treatment.  Can a doctor legally refuse to treat them if the pregnant woman refuses the treatment they are recommending?

For instance, I will be attempting a twin VBAC in the hospital and if I end up with a doctor other than my own that does not feel comfortable doing a VBAC, if I refuse a c-section upon admission, can he/she legally refuse to deliver my baby?  (The hospital’s policy does allow for twin VBAC’s…it is a relative contraindication, not an absolute).


From what I understand they can not refuse to treat you.  From what I understand (at least in California) A doctor can not drop you within 30 days of your guess date from his care without providing a new care provider.  So in your situation if an OB was trying to force a cesarean on you, you could offer to sign an AMA form, which would probably help him feel like he would not be on the hook if things didn’t go smoothly.

I would probably research the law and print it out.  Have it handy so that if the care provider tries to refuse to care for you if you want to VBAC, you can demonstrate that they have a legal obligation to find a new care provider for you.

You may also want to get a list of the OBs who are willing to support you with a VBAC.  This way if an OB is there who doesn’t want to support you, you could pull out your list of OBs who will and say, I want one of these!

If you do the above you will be prepared in case you have a situation where you need to stand up for your rights.

Also use the power of visualization and visualize your OB being on call when your birthing time starting and having the most supportive staff there!

Here is an inspirational story of a mom who fired her OB during her birth, because he kept threatening her with a cesarean.  Remember it is your body and your babies!  You are in charge.

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One Comment on “Wondering Wednesday: Can an OB fire a Patient during birth?

  1. Isn’t it illegal for a hospital to turn away a laboring woman? I take that to mean a) they can’t make you leave the hospital; b) if an emergency arises, they can’t refuse to treat you; and c) when the baby comes, they can’t refuse to catch.

    I don’t know if it has to be your OB, but the hospital has to provide *someone* (and not a janitor, LOL!) to provide the necessary treatment. I don’t know what things they *could* legally refuse to do, but if you don’t want surgery and you don’t have an emergency, what do you *want* them to do? After all, the baby is going to come, even if the doctor just sits in the corner and sulks the whole time.

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