Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 10:45
Doctors push for forced cesareans when lives are endangered
Two gynecologists and two judges are advocating for forced cesarean sections on pregnant women if the life or health of the child is at stake. They want a judge to intervene if the mother's refusal to have a C-section puts her baby's life in danger, RTL Nieuws reports. The decision to undergo a cesarean section currently lies with the mother. The doctor's hands are tied if she refuses, even when the baby is in danger. In the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam alone, this situation leads to two or three infant deaths a year. The figures for the Netherlands are unknown. Gynecologists Tom Schneider and Leontien van Ravestijn and judges Cees de Groot and Paul Vlaardingerbroek are calling for more attention to the "interests of the fetus in a safe birth". If a mother refuses a C-section in a dangerous situation, they want a judge to be called in. The judge must come to the delivery room immediately and give the go ahead for a cesarean. If there is no time, the doctor must be able to do an emergency surgery with the court approving it retroactively. "It can not be that the interest of a full-term fetus contributes nothing, even if the mother's refusal has no real basis", they write.