Three cheers to the Lake Powell Chronicle, the small newspaper that covered the story. Joy Szabo of Page, Arizona is being threatened with a court-ordered cesarean if she refuses a cesarean at Page Hospital, part of the Banner Health system.
Szabo, who already delivered vaginally after a previous cesarean at Page Hospital is being told that she must submit to an unnecessary or “elective” cesarean to remain a Banner Health patient through the perinatal period.
Page Hospital Chief Executive Officer Sandy Haryasz feel that VBAC is too risky for her small hospital and Joy’s labor will divert surgical resources away from other patients who need them, as labor could take “hours or days.”
“Page Hospital is, as many small communities are, challenged with resources,” said Chief Executive Officer Sandy Haryasz. “Page simply does not have the physician resources to respond to an emergency. Currently, we have two physicians who are delivering babies and a third physician will be joining us next week.
“Three physicians cannot provide the coverage recommended by ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology). The physicians must be immediately available because of the risks of a VBAC and we cannot provide that in Page. In addition, we cannot provide an anesthesiologist to be readily available because we only have one anesthesiologist.”
As a result, Joy is stuck traveling nearly five hours down to Phoenix, Arizona to a women’s care clinic or staying home and having an unassisted birth.
Joy’s husband, Jeff, told Mary Forney of the Lake Powell Chronicle that he feels his wife’s rights are being violated.
“I have talked with Banner Health officials who have said it’s just their policy,” Jeff said. “It’s a legal decision – not a medical decision. My wife’s plight is indicative of the health-care system in the U.S. They make money off of people’s suffering.
“Consequently, medical care is dictated by cost and insurance companies and not by what’s best for the patient.”
Joy has attended a board of directors meeting and has met twice with Haryasz. [Emphasis mine]
“I asked Sandy what would happen if I just showed up refusing a c-section and she said they would obtain a court order,” Joy said. “They don’t want to allow VBACs because she said they aren’t equipped for emergency c-sections, but if they can’t do emergency c-sections, they shouldn’t be having labor and delivery at all. That’s why women go to the hospital to have their babies – in case there is an emergency.
Contact information for Banner Health’s Page Hospital:
501 N. Navajo
P.O. Box 1447
Page, AZ 86040
Online form to reach Mr. Fine here.
Bill Byron (PR) - Twitter account @BannerBill (hashtag #bannerhealthvbac)
Comments about Page Hospital’s unwritten VBAC policy change on The Unnecesarean Facebook Fan Page
New Jersey VM Case - A Victory of Sorts (National Advocates for Pregnant Women)
Does a Laboring Woman Have Any Rights? (Birth Activist)
Banner Health’s Twitter response on Thursday, October 1 at 3:30 p.m.
Joy has already had a VBAC. She is THE appropriate VBAC patient! Just because something is the standard of care does not make it ethical.
Joy has already had a VBAC. She is THE appropriate VBAC patient!
Just because something is the standard of care does not make it ethical.
ICAN has publicized the story on their blog.
This is cool. ICAN started a “Mother-Sized Activism” category on its community blog. This entry features a guest post by Joy Szabo, the woman in the article as well as some mini-activism tasks. It says “mom sized” but these tasks are dude-appropriate as well.
Here’s an excerpt of Joy’s post. Click over to read the rest.
I thought for a bit, had some unanswered questions, so called Sandy’s office again to schedule another appointment. At this meeting I asked why they are doing labor and delivery if they cannot offer a timely cesarean. She defended the hospital, saying that they can do emergency cesaereans, but did not want to accept the risk of VBAC. I asked what the hospital policy is if I show up and just refuse to consent to a cesarean. She said they would seek a court order. She repeated to me that Page Hospital does not have the facilities nessasary to handle an emergency.
At my September OB appointment, I told my doctor what I had been up to. He was filled with apathy. He was wringing his hands, and said he would have to do it if the hospital told him he had to. He told me he would lose his licence if he didn’t. I have looked into it and have yet to find where doctors lose their licence for having ethics. But it was clear to me that I was not safe in this hospital, and if I step foot in the building, I would have a cesarean, and my doctor would do it while I scream in protest.