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St. Barnabas Medical Center's Cesarean Rate is 49.3 Percent

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The St. Barnabas Medical Center Web site explains cesarean surgery and when it is considered necessary. It also defines VBAC and the term “c-section rate.”


Text: There are two types of c-section rates that measure how frequently c-sections are performed––total c-section rates and primary c-section rates. The total c-section rate is determined by dividing the number of cesarean sections by the total number of deliveries for a specific period. This is the rate typically published in newspaper and consumer reports.

The primary c-section rate is considered more accurate because it looks at first-time c-sections, thereby ruling out patient preference. The primary c-section rate is determined by dividing the number of women having a c-section for the first time by the total number of deliveries by women who have never had a c-section. Women who have had repeat c-sections or VBACs are not included in primary c-section rates.


St. Barnabas took the time to define what “c-section rate” means, but omitted their c-section rate.



Total c-section rate (2008): 49.3 percent

Primary c-section rate (2008):29.2 percent


St. Barnabas Medical Center is the hospital at which staff called for a psychiatric consult of a woman in labor who was refusing an unnecessary cesarean, then called for yet another consult when the woman was found to be anxious, yet competent. In the middle of her second psychiatric consult, she gave birth vaginally with no incident to a healthy baby. The appellate court findings do not show whether the woman was given the chance to seek a second opinion for the recommendation of an unnecessary cesarean for misdiagnosed nonreassuring fetal heart tones, but the staff at St. Barnabas exercised the right to seek a second opinion regarding the laboring woman’s psychiatric state because they did not agree with the first doctor’s decision.

The St. Barnabas Medical Center Web site states that patients should ask the doctor or midwife about whether or not to seek a second opinion about their cesarean recommendation:

Who determines if a C-Section is necessary?

Your physician or midwife; but you should be part of the decision too. You should take an active role by talking with your physician or midwife and asking specific questions such as when a c-section would be recommended; what steps would be taken prior to performing a c-section; whether to seek a second opinion; and whether vaginal delivery is encouraged after a previous c-section. It is important that you feel comfortable with the views of your physician or midwife on c-section deliveries.


Related Posts:


Superior Court of New Jersey Terminates Cesarean-Refusing Mom’s Parental Rights (July 20, 2009)

Refusal of Unnecesarean Leads to Loss of Custody: V’s Story (July 21, 2009)

New Jersey Cesarean Refusal Case: The “System” is Schizophrenic (July 23, 2009)

Anonymous Comments about New Jersey Cesarean Refusal Case (July 30, 2009)

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Reader Comments (6)

I have been reading this case with interest, but it is hard to get a feel of what really happened from the court documents and testimonies. I could not find if this woman had any prenatal care and relationship with any midwife or OB prior to coming into the hospital. My guess is no, and it can be very hard to have a conversation about birth preferences with a total stranger who was becoming more and more agitated.

I must say the total C-Section rate is pretty shocking for this hospital. When you google this hospital here is what you will find: "among the top 5% in the nation for women's health quality outcomes, recognized by the 2009/2010 Women's Health Excellence Award. It also earned the Maternity Care Excellence Award and is the only hospital in New Jersey to be ranked among the top 10% in the nation for maternity care for the seventh consecutive year. Saint Barnabas is one of only 15 hospitals nationwide to earn both the Women's Health and Maternity Care Excellence Awards for 2009/2010."

They must have a very good marketing firm, or the community does not give a hoot about C-Section rates. I will continue to be happy working in my hospital with a total C-Section rate of 23% (the rate for midwife patients is 13-15%).

July 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterReality Rounds

She did have prenatal care and liked it... "At the fact-finding hearing, V.M. informed the judge that she had had a wonderful prenatal experience4."

It sounds like community members are starting to get fed up. Someone started the Worst to First program.

July 29, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

Birth Survey! Birth Survey! Birth Survey!

It's national. But there were only 4 responses about St. Barnabas, so we need to get the word out more...

The "name and shame" Worst to First looks great, too. I hope that gets a lot of local attention.

July 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Is the Mother's Information Act ratified in NJ? If so it's gone MIA.

July 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

I know this comment is a year after your original post, but I was born at St. Barnabas in the early 80's. I was a forceps baby...no injuries, thankfully. My other, younger, brothers and sister were born at a smaller hospital in NJ (Chilton) with no complications. I'm curious what St. Barnabas' c-section rates were in the 80's and how that compared to the rest of the nation? Also, while talking this summer with a friend who still lives in NJ, she said that St. Barnabas has one of the highest level NICU's for that area of NJ, so they may see more "high-risk" mothers, driving their c-section rates up. I definitely don't think the rates should be right under 50% though!

September 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

I would like to see women boycott this hospital. Why do women put up with this? Why don't they protest? Why don't they walk away? And please tell me what makes a doctor or better yet, a nurse, able to sleep at night knowing that he or she deliberately took the birth of her baby away from 49% of the women who come to that hospital?

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie B Matheson
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