Can a Hospital Force Me to Have a C-Section?

Posted on October 29, 2014 by Shapiro Law Group

Several Prescription Pill Bottles in a Pile

A pregnant woman is fighting a Florida hospital in court, after it threatened to report her to family services if she refused to have a C-section.

The victim in this case had delivered three other children by C-section. She decided that for her fourth child, she would undergo a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), a relatively common procedure that has been used since 1985.

However, the expectant mother received a letter from the hospital’s chief financial officer, stating that if she went through with her plan to deliver vaginally, they would report her to the Department of Children and Family Services.

Furthermore, the hospital threatened to seek a court order, which would allow it to perform the cesarean “with or without [her] consent” if she came to the hospital.

A support group known as the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) tried to file a temporary restraining order against the hospital to prevent it from operating on the woman without permission.

Unfortunately, a federal district judge denied the request and sided with the hospital, stating that the woman had “no right to compel a physician or medical facility to perform a medical procedure… against their best medical judgment.”

The woman stated that she would always consider surgery “if there were any indication during labor that it would be necessary.” All she wanted was a chance to try a different method of childbirth, one that would be safer for her baby and would allow her to heal faster so she could care for her newborn and three other children.

In the end, the woman gave birth at another hospital, and her labor did require a C-section. However, she said this facility allowed her to consent to surgery after “laboring and not progressing,” which was all she ever wanted.

Can My Doctor Force Me to Have Surgery?

Doctors are required to inform every patient of the risks they may face during surgery, but they should never force patients to agree to something that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe. A good doctor respects a patient’s decisions, and finds ways to make them understand the necessity of a procedure rather than threatening them with legal action.

If your doctor pressured you to make a decision against your better judgment, he could be held liable for any resulting medical injury. Call the attorneys at Shapiro Law Group if you or your child suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence. We want to hear your story.

Shapiro Law GroupMedical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area



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