Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Jail For Refusing C-Section

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous
  • 17 Replies

USF Obstetrician Threatens to call Police if Patient does not report for C-Section.

 

SPRING HILL - Lisa Epsteen thought she had an advocate for her high-risk pregnancy in Dr. Jerry Yankowitz, chairman of the University of South Florida's department of obstetrics and gynecology.

But Wednesday morning, she opened her email to find the well-known expert threatening to send police to her Spring Hill home unless she immediately reported to Tampa General Hospital for a caesarean delivery.

Epsteen, 35, was more than a week past the due date for her baby boy. Despite an ultrasound that alarmed her doctors, she wanted to wait until Friday to schedule the caesarean surgery, which would be her fifth.

"I am deeply concerned that you are contributing to a very high probability that your fetus will die or your child will incur brain damage if born alive. At this time, you must come in for delivery," Yankowitz wrote.

"I would hate to move to the most extreme option, which is having law enforcement pick you up at your home and bring you in, but you are leaving the providers of USF/TGH no choice," he continued.

Epsteen said she panicked.

"In a couple of hours there are going to be cops on my doorstep taking me away from home - in front of my children - to force me into having surgery," she recalled thinking.

Then, she became angry: "There are any number of things that they could have done without threatening me."

The stay-at-home, homeschooling mother sought help from advocacy groups that she had joined for women wishing to attempt a vaginal birth after caesarean, called a VBAC. That's what led her to Yankowitz, who had approved taking on her high-risk case and was serving as her liaison to other USF obstetricians, Epsteen said.

Within three hours, Yankowitz had been contacted by a lawyer for the New York-based National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which demanded he "stop immediately any further threats or actions against Ms. Epsteen."

"Pregnant women are no different than anybody else in terms of their constitutional and human rights," staff attorney Farah Diaz-Tello said. "The threat he was making was both legally and ethically unjustifiable."

A nurse called Epsteen to say her surgery was scheduled for Friday as she wished.

USF Health spokeswoman Lisa Greene said the university could not comment, nor even confirm that Epsteen was seeing USF doctors, because of patient privacy regulations.

"At USF Health, we have great respect for the privacy of our patients," she said.

Tampa General officials deferred questions on the matter to USF.

Tampa police couldn't recall a case in which they were sent to bring a pregnant woman to the hospital for an unwanted caesarean. Spokeswoman Laura McElroy said the only possible legal grounds would be if the doctor established the fetus' life was in immediate danger, which would be difficult under patient privacy regulations.

Pregnant women have been forced to have undesired medical care. In Tallahassee in 2009, a court ordered a pregnant woman to remain in the hospital after a doctor said she risked a miscarriage if she didn't quit smoking and stay on bed rest. An appeals court later overturned the order.

Epsteen said she was speaking out to help other women.

"Honestly, I feel abandoned. There has to be a level of trust between provider and patient, and that has been betrayed," said Epsteen, who said she now fears returning to USF and Tampa General for her planned delivery. "It's circumstances like this that make women feel like they have no options but to birth their babies on their own - and put themselves in more dangerous circumstances - because they feel bullied."

While it's rare to see written pressure, women frequently feel pushed by doctors to consent to unwanted caesareans at the end of pregnancy, Diaz-Tello said.

From the medical perspective, risk to mother and fetus can increase after the due date passes. But there's also growing awareness that too many caesarean deliveries are performed for convenience and reduced liability. The science of determining due dates is imprecise, so babies delivered just slightly early can actually end up being premature.

Yankowitz was frank with Epsteen about the risks she faced after four caesareans, she said. They met multiple times during her pregnancy, and he stayed in touch by email.

In their last meeting on Friday, she said he urged her to think about his recommendation that she have a caesarean. Epsteen had developed gestational diabetes, another risk factor, plus the baby was not in a good position for a vaginal delivery.

When an ultrasound Tuesday showed the fetus in possible distress, other USF physicians sent her directly to Tampa General and wanted to deliver right then.

But she questioned their alarm. Besides, she couldn't leave her 2-year-old son with strangers. She was driving the family's only car, so her husband, a team leader at a call center, couldn't get to her.

"In Dr. Yankowitz's defense, and all of the other physicians there, I don't think they are trying to cover themselves. I think they really do have the best interests of my child and myself at heart," she added. "On the other hand, this is not the way to go about protecting my baby or me."

Yankowitz was named the USF chair of obstetrics and gynecology in late 2010. He is one of the few doctors in the nation who is doubly certified in genetics and maternal fetal medicine, according to the USF website. His areas of expertise include ultrasound diagnostics.

After the lawyer got involved, Yankowitz sent a subsequent email saying he wouldn't send law enforcement to Epsteen's home. "I personally recognize and respect your right to make the medical treatment decisions for both you and your unborn child. . . . In that regard, please understand my frustration as I truly believe you and your child are in jeopardy."

http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/usf-obstetrician-threatens-to-call-police-if-patient-doesnt-report-for/2107387



 

 

 

 
 
Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:29 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
Diamondblue1
by Silver Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:32 AM

that's crazy

2girlsMom.MN
by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:34 AM

SELFISH !

thePBandJmom
by Gold Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:35 AM
1 mom liked this

It sounds like the doctor really had her and her baby's best interest in mind, but he went about it the wrong way.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:35 AM

I nominate him for doctor of the year - I would love to have him as an OB :)

Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:36 AM

 

Quoting Diamondblue1:

that's crazy

 YEP, more to this, then told ....?bad

lendales_mommi
by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:38 AM
1 mom liked this

That is crazy not sure how i feel about it... if a doc was telling me my baby was in need right then and there i would not question it.......

SoInLove515
by Platinum Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:39 AM
I think the Dr. went overboard by threatning her. But I really do think he a had a legit concern about the baby.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Diamondblue1
by Silver Member on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:42 AM
1 mom liked this

i just had my baby 3 1/2 months ago and they wanted me to have a c section because they thought she was too big i told them no i'm not. i already had a 10 pound baby naturally. she came out 9 pounds 14 ounces and she came out with ease and no pain thanks to my friend epi lol

Quoting Anonymous:

 

Quoting Diamondblue1:

that's crazy

 YEP, more to this, then told ....?bad



paganmommy4
by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:43 AM

I saw a child whos mother was told she needed to have a c-section because the baby wouldn't fit , she had the baby vaginally anyways resulting in a crushed skull, the girl will never walk or talk, has to have a feeding tube her esophagus was sutured shut to prevent projectile vomit and is wheel chair bound for life.. Her head have to have multiple surgeries to fix the problem. I think he went the wrong way but he was truly concerned for the babies life.

Neuro
by on Mar. 8, 2013 at 2:43 AM
1 mom liked this

I don't feel that he had any right to threaten legal action towards her. I doubt that this was simply a "convenience" c-section, considering the facts of this case as presented here, she WAS deemed high-risk. Here in the USA, we are EXTREMELY sue happy, and worst case scenario, she decides to wait against medical advice and dies on the operating table and that doctor gets his pants sued off by an angry husband who pleads tearfully to the judge "why didn't this doctor do more to convince my wife of the danger to her life!?". In these scenarios, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. But involving the law? That seems a bit drastic. It's too bad that these doctors don't have more protection from liability.

I am sure that there are plenty of cases of high-risk Mothers refusing C-sections and that's a dangerous thing for doctors to have to handle and be expected to handle gracefully. That she is shocked does call me to wonder exactly what she was expecting to hear from her doctor knowing that she is on her 5th kid in a high risk pregnancy. Seems she didn't have very realistic expectations in the first place. From what I am just reading here, it seems to me like his concerns were legit.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)