The Other Side of the Glass

Part One was officially released June 2013 in digital distribution format. To purchase to to If you were a donor and want to download your copy send an email to

The trailer

Monday, April 02, 2007

And yet, obstetrics claims to be safer than home

Why do hospitals, doctors, nurses, insurance companies, policy makers, legislators and women continue to believe and PROMOTE that a woman is safer in the hospital where the US cesarean rate is now 30% (and much, much higher in some hospitals?) I hope presenting a variety of news articles to provide opportunities to look at the news that we hear and see over and over day after day begins to connect (in women's' minds) to the risks associated with hospital birth. Women ... consumers in birth ... must soon begin to demand that hospitals and doctors serve them in the way in which they need, such as providing systematized homebirth care that includes adequate, respectful care upon transport.

In the following article reporting on safety issues in US hospitals, this jumps out at me: Ten of 16 types of patient-safety incidents increased over the three years of the study, by an average of almost 12 percent. The greatest increases were in post-operative sepsis (about 34.3 percent); post-operative respiratory failure (18.7 percent); and selected infections due to medical care (about 12.2 percent). All of these are the risks associated with cesarean delivery. Obstetrics are taught and like to perpetuate the myth that obstetric medicine is responsible for the lowered mortality numbers since the fifties. Fact is, it is still antibiotics that saves women in obstetric, surgical birth. We could not have the high cesarean rate AND the current maternal mortality rate without antibiotics. Anyone have a study that shows how many women who gave birth surgically were NOT on antibiotics? ZERO. How many women had to be on extended or repeated rounds of antibiotics in first weeks and months of post partum care? Now, that would be interesting to know. How many maternal deaths from infection would there be without antibiotics?

Antibiotics, nutrition, and sanitation are the number one reasons given for decreased maternal and neonatal mortality around the world and since the thirties. Hospital acquired infections continue to be a significant killer of hospital patients. A woman does not have to give birth surgically to be at risk. In my college microbiology class I recall an emphasis on "every time you puncture the skin, you increase the risk of infection in the hospital." IV's, epidural catheter, blood draws in the most infectious places on the planet are the entry point for germs. Keeping your skin intact is the best prevention.

Also in article below, During those three years, there were 247,662 potentially preventable deaths in U.S. hospitals. Medicare patients involved in one or more safety incidents had a 25 percent chance of dying.
In the US African-American and Latino/Hispanic women are more likely to die in childbirth. Higher numbers of both of these groups are also Medicare recipients. These women are also more likely to be restricted to teaching hospitals because the government funds residency programs and they must serve medicare patients. I was told that a midwest hospital with ten FP residents per class received $100,000 per resident per year (wooo, talk 'bout your "welfare mamas"). Women on medicaid have the least power of all women and the least choice. Obstetric residents are learning how to care for high risk pregnancies by learning on all women and by creating the need for surgical birth by practicing induction and anesthesia, particularly women on medicare. Round and round we go. Which came first? The obstetrician or the high risk pregnancy?

There is so much that the US could be doing to prevent maternal and newborn loss. CONSUMER CONFRONTATION of the vagaries of the medical and hospital system is where it will start.

In the article below the study found a significant discrepancy between hospitals. THAT is disgusting. This is SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that shows the need for a US STANDARD OF CARE in obstetric medicine and the need for an INDEPENDENT agent to oversee obstetrics (rather than the fox -- fed by Big Pharm -- guarding the hen house.) I will say it again (and again, and again) that the US needs to look at the lack of consistency of obstetric medicine (supposedly based in science) from state-to-state, from hospital-to-hospital, from doctor-to-doctor, and from nurse-to-nurse. Giving birth in the hospital in the US is one round after another of "Russian roulette" - with cesarean birth being the "bullet".

The article:

MONDAY, April 2 (HealthDay News) -- Patient safety incidents in U.S. hospitals increased by three percent overall from 2003 to 2005, and the error gap between the nation's best- and worst-performing hospitals remained wide, a report released Monday found.

America's top rated centers had 40 percent lower rates of medical errors than the poorest-performing hospitals, the study showed.

The fourth annual HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals Study, put out by HealthGrades, an independent health care ratings company, examined over 40 million Medicare hospitalization records at almost 5,000 hospitals from 2003 to 2005.

The study found that:

  • There were 1.16 million patient safety incidents among Medicare patients during the three years of the study. That works out to an incidence rate of 2.86 percent.
  • During those three years, there were 247,662 potentially preventable deaths in U.S. hospitals.
  • Medicare patients involved in one or more safety incidents had a 25 percent chance of dying.
  • The excess cost to Medicare associated with patient safety incidents was $8.6 billion from 2003 to 2005.
  • Ten of 16 types of patient-safety incidents increased over the three years of the study, by an average of almost 12 percent. The greatest increases were in post-operative sepsis (about 34.3 percent); post-operative respiratory failure (18.7 percent); and selected infections due to medical care (about 12.2 percent).
  • Incidents with the highest occurrence rates were decubitus ulcer; failure to rescue; and post-operative respiratory failure.
  • If all hospitals had performed at the same level as the top-rated hospitals, about 206,286 patient safety incidents and 34,393. Medicare patient deaths could have been avoided, resulting in $1.74 billion in savings.

"The cost of medical errors at American hospitals in both mortality and dollar terms continues to be significant, and the 'chasm in quality' between the nation's top and bottom hospitals, which HealthGrades has documented in this and other studies, remains," the study's primary author, Dr. Samantha Collier, HealthGrades' chief medical officer, said in a prepared statement.

"But the nation's best-performing hospitals are providing benchmarks for the hospital industry, exercising a vigilance that resulted in far fewer in-hospital incidents among the Medicare patients studied," Collier said.

Benchmarks? Is that on the path to a national STANDARD OF CARE that is consistent, uniform, SCIENCE-BASED, dependable, and ENFORCEABLE? I certainly pray so.

No comments:

"Soft is the heart of a child. Do not harden it."

A public awareness reminder that things that happen behind the scenes, out of our sight, aren't always as rosy as we might think them to be. Perhaps its a restaurant cook who accidentally drops your burger on the floor before placing it on the bun and serving it to you. Here it's an overworked apathetic (pathetic) nurse giving my newborn daughter her first bath. Please comment and rate this video, so as to insure that it is viewed as widely as possible, perhaps to prevent other such abuse. -- The mother who posted this YouTube. How NOT to wash a baby on YouTube Are you going to try to tell me that "babies don't remember?" There is no difference to this baby's experience and the imprinting of her nervous system/brain and one that is held and cleaned by the mother or father either at the hospital or at home? By the way, this is probably NOT the baby's first bath. The nurse is ungloved. Medical staff protocol is that they can't handle a baby ungloved until is has been bathed (scrubbed if you've seen it) because the baby is a BIO-HAZARD -- for them. Never mind that the bio-hazard IS the baby's first line of defense against hospital germs.

Missouri Senator Louden Speaks

Finally, A Birth Film for Fathers

Part One of the "The Other Side of the Glass: Finally, A Birth Film for and about Men" was released June, 2013.

Through presentation of the current research and stories of fathers, the routine use of interventions are questioned. How we protect and support the physiological need of the human newborn attachment sequence is the foundation for creating safe birth wherever birth happens.

Based on knowing that babies are sentient beings and the experience of birth is remembered in the body, mind, and soul, fathers are asked to research for themselves what is best for their partner and baby and to prepare to protect their baby.

The film is designed for midwives, doulas, and couples, particularly fathers to work with their caregivers. Doctors and nurses in the medical environment are asked to "be kind" to the laboring, birthing baby, and newborn. They are called to be accountable for doing what science has been so clear about for decades. The mother-baby relationship is core for life. Doctors and nurses and hospital caregivers and administrators are asked to create protocols that protect the mother-baby relationship.

Men are asked to join together to address the vagaries of the medical system that harm their partner, baby and self in the process of the most defining moments of their lives. Men are asked to begin to challenge the system BEFORE they even conceive babies as there is no way to be assured of being able to protect his loved ones once they are in the medical machine, the war zone, on the conveyor belt -- some of the ways that men describe their journey into fatherhood in the medicine culture.

Donors can email to get a digital copy.
Buy the film at

The film focuses on the male baby, his journey from the womb to the world and reveals healing and integrating the mother, father, and baby's wounded birth experience. The film is about the restoring of our families, society, and world through birthing loved, protected, and nurtured males (and females, of course). It's about empowering males to support the females to birth humanity safely, lovingly, and consciously.

Finally, a birth film for fathers.

What People Are Saying About the FIlm

Well, I finally had a chance to check out the trailer and .. wow! It's nice that they're acknowledging the father has more than just cursory rights (of course mom's rights are rarely acknowledged either) and it's great that they're bringing out the impact of the experience on the newborn, but I'm really impressed that they're not shying away from the political side.

They are rightly calling what happens in every American maternity unit, every day, by its rightful name - abuse. Abuse of the newborn, abuse of the parents and their rights, abuse of the supposedly sacrosanct ethical principal of patient autonomy and the medico-legal doctrine of informed consent, which has been long ago discarded in all but name. I love it!

In the immortal words of the "shrub", "bring it on!" This film needs to be shown and if I can help facilitate or promote it, let me know.

Father in Asheville, NC

OMG'ess, I just saw the trailer and am in tears. This is so needed. I watch over and over and over as fathers get swallowed in the fear of hospitals birth practice. I need a tool like this to help fathers see how very vital it is for them to protect their partner and baby. I am torn apart every time I see a father stand back and chew his knuckle while his wife is essentially assaulted or his baby is left to lie there screaming.
Please send me more info!!!!
Carrie Hankins
CD(DONA), CCCE, Aspiring Midwife

Thanks for sharing this. It was very touching to me. I thought of my brother-in-law standing on the other side of the glass when my sister had to have a C-section with her first child because the doctor was missing his golf date. I'll never forget his pacing back and forth and my realizing that he was already a father, even though he hadn't been allowed to be with his son yet.

Margaret, Columbia, MO

In case you don't find me here

Soon, I'll be back to heavy-duty editing and it will be quiet here again. I keep thinking this blog is winding down, and then it revives. It is so important to me.

I wish I'd kept a blog of my journey with this film this past 10 months. It's been amazing.

I have a new blog address for the film, and will keep a journal of simple reporting of the journey for the rest of the film.

I'll be heading east this week to meet with a group of men. I plan to post pictures and clips on the film blog.

I'll keep up here when I can -- when I learn something juicy, outrageous, or inspiring related to making birth safer for the birthing baby.

Review of the film

Most of us were born surrounded by people who had no clue about how aware and feeling we were. This trailer triggers a lot of emotions for people if they have not considered the baby's needs and were not considered as a baby. Most of us born in the US were not. The final film will include detailed and profound information about the science-based, cutting-edge therapies for healing birth trauma.

The full film will have the interviews of a wider spectrum of professionals and fathers, and will include a third birth, at home, where the caregivers do a necessary intervention, suctioning, while being conscious of the baby.

The final version will feature OBs, RNs, CNMs, LM, CPM, Doulas, childbirth educators, pre and perinatal psychologists and trauma healing therapists, physiologists, neurologists, speech therapists and lots and lots of fathers -- will hopefully be done in early 2009.

The final version will include the science needed to advocated for delayed cord clamping, and the science that shows when a baby needs to be suctioned and addresses other interventions. Experts in conscious parenting will teach how to be present with a sentient newborn in a conscious, gentle way -- especially when administering life-saving techniques.

The goal is to keep the baby in the mother's arms so that the baby gets all of his or her placental blood and to avoid unnecessary, violating, and abusive touch and interactions. When we do that, whether at home or hospital, with doctor or midwife, the birth is safe for the father. The "trick" for birthing men and women is how to make it happen in the hospital.

Birth Trauma Healing

Ani DeFranco Speaks About Her Homebirth

"Self-Evident" by Ani DeFranco

Patrick Houser at

Colin speaks out about interventions at birth