Monday, 01 December 2008
by Nurse Jenna
I have heard many crass comments in the delivery room, but high on the list of those that bother me the most are comments the new father makes during the repair of an episiotomy, or laceration such as “Make sure you sew her up nice and tight.” While I find these to be beyond inappropriate, crossing into the realm of misogynistic , I have come to learn that there are a lot of disturbing people in the world and while often I get to see the best of people, I am also exposed to the less pleasant side of human nature as well. While I never excuse it, I am no longer shocked by much and have come to accept quite a lot.
However, there are still some things I will not accept. Recently, in a delivery, a woman had a completely normal vaginal birth. She had the good fortune of having no tears and had not needed an episiotomy (which most women do not need). Nevertheless, the doctor said (paraphrasing), “You didn’t have any tears, but I can go ahead and put a few stitches in any way to make things tighter so that sex will be better.” The patient, who was paying more attention to her baby than the doctor, said, “Whatever needs to be done; whatever you think is best.” Unbelievable. Needless to say this doctor is being written up and the situation is being addressed.
While one could say there was verbal patient consent, I would definitely argue it was not “informed consent” as to what was really going on given the situation. Regardless, if this “elective” procedure was being done with the patient’s approval, it is not even a “cosmetic” procedure. It is unnecessarily surgically altering this woman for the possibility that it may improve her husband’s sexual satisfaction.
Do you think women who have not torn during delivery should have the option to get a “repair”? Do you think it is malpractice if a doctor places stitches when there was no laceration?