Mummy Buzz


C-Section Threatened Mom Has Baby

Reckless or Role Model?

You may have heard of the hoopla surrounding a woman named Lisa Epsteen whose doctor threatened to sic the police on her for refusing to have the emergency C-section he recommended. Well, her fifth child, who was a week overdue, has mercifully been born without incident. 

But though Dr. Jerry Yankowitz perhaps didn't handle the situation as sensitively as he could have, he had reason to be concerned. According to an article in Mommyish, Epsteen had gestational diabetes, and an ultrasound revealed signs of fetal distress. Dr. Yankowitz feared the baby might die or be born with brain damage. 

As the article points out, Epsteen is being lauded as a modern heroine for honouring her maternal instincts when, really, she just got lucky. I can't help but feel the ending could quite easily have been an unhappy one. 

Sure, there is increasing pressure on women to have needless interventions during childbirth. In most cases babies should be born as naturally as possible. But nature doesn't always go to plan. That's where science steps in. Doctors do usually know best. Usually they know their routine from their emergency. And I'm guessing most would rather not operate unless they had to, recommending a C-section only in cases when they genuinely fear the baby might come to harm. 

The letter was a bad idea, granted. But we have to trust that Dr. Yankowitz must have had the infant's best interests in mind when he recommended the procedure. That the threats were a last-ditch attempt of a desperate professional to get a woman to see sense, if only by stealth? 

Was Epsteen a role model or simply reckless for refusing the procedure?