Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Two births, two mothers, two vicious legal battles.

Two stunning stories revolving around birth and legal rights are currently in the news, each from unique yet equally enraging situations.

First, the somewhat, kinda sorta good news: there's a update to the outrageous case of Catherine Skol, a mother who was mistreated, verbally abused, and I would say physically abused as well, by her obstetrician during her labor last March. She filed a civil suit against Dr. Scott Pierce in December, and while that has yet to transpire, he has been suspended by the medical center, and the the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has fined him $500 and put him on one year's probation. He was also required to attend various continuing ed courses, including a class on physician-patient communication - though it's unclear whether he will actually attend these, since he resigned in February this year.

This consequence is pretty petty, if you ask me. As one commenter pointed out, fines for parking tickets can be higher than that! But let's remember that this is not the consequence of the actual lawsuit yet. I can only hope that the upcoming civil suit will serve up some more serious consequences. I'm a little unclear on whether he resigned only from this particular hospital or is giving up medicine permanently. If it's only the former that is true, then I hope the civil suit forces him to lose his license forever. This is not a person who should be practicing medicine. Anyone can have a bad day, but if you read the details in the link to Unnecesarean above, you'll see that this is so over the top that there's no other conclusion to be drawn. Anyone who is capable of treating just ONE person this way should never, ever be allowed to care for another patient. Period. I'll be eagerly awaiting the civil suit.

Now for the indubitably bad news: after three years of struggling with custody issues, a mother who refused to consent to a cesarean in April 2006 ago has now had her parental rights terminated. The details of the case over the course of time are convoluted and full of conflicting opinions and versions of events, but one thing is crystal-clear: the custody challenge began when she refused to sign the consent form for a c-section. It should be noted right here and now that the baby was then born vaginally, without incident.

Read the case for yourself. I find the precedent to be nothing short of terrifying. Mothers beware: if you have ever been on any antidepressant medication, and then have the temerity to stand up for yourself when pressured to submit to an unnecessary c-section, it is now established that you can be declared an unfit parent and your child can be taken away from you. I cannot imagine the nightmare of waging this battle for three full years, even if the ending were a happy one. To lose in the end, too? I don't know how I could go on.

All props to the mighty Unnecesarean for information on both of these stories.


  1. Absolutely shocking!!! I need to start the lobbying process for birth rights in IL. It's truly horrendous here where CPMs are illegal. Both of the stories are sickening. And to think that the mom lost her child for doing what she felt was in th child's best interest...what the hell is the legal system doing?!?!?!?!?

  2. No kidding.

    The Huffington Post has now weighed in: