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New York Woman Files Lawsuit Against Hospital for Forced C-Section

A woman from Staten Island, New York is filing a lawsuit against Staten Island University Hospital and two physicians for allegedly forcing her to undergo a C-section against her will.  Rinat Dray, age 35, was pregnant with her third child and had already undergone two previous C-sections with her other children.  She did not want to undergo a third because of post-operative complications from the C-sections and a longer length of time to recover from surgery.  She did her own research and found that she was likely a good candidate for a VBAC, or a vaginal birth after cesarean, and interviewed several doctors to find one willing to work with her.  Unfortunately, although Dray thought she would be allowed to proceed with labor and delivery according to her wishes, she had an entirely different experience on the actual day.

VBAC: A Controversial Procedure

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a new set of guidelines regarding VBACs in 2010.  Prior to this time, VBACs were seen as threatening to a woman’s health because of an increased risk of uterine rupture.  However, the guidelines were revised because of the increasingly rapid rate of C-sections performed in the U.S.  The President of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated:

The current cesarean rate is undeniably high and absolutely concerns us as ob-gyns. These VBAC guidelines emphasize the need for thorough counseling of benefits and risks, shared patient-doctor decision making, and the importance of patient autonomy. Moving forward, we need to work collaboratively with our patients and our colleagues, hospitals, and insurers to swing the pendulum back to fewer cesareans and a more reasonable VBAC rate.

However, some doctors rail against VBACs, arguing that they are dangerous and that patients are misinformed about the inherent and truly life-altering risks.  However, the American Pregnancy Association stands behind the Congress’s opinion, and cites statistics that after undergoing prior C-sections, the risk of uterine rupture is between .2%-1.5%.

Staten Island Women Cites Number of Complaints Following C-Section

Dray’s attorney has issued a number of claims against the hospital and two doctors involved in her C-section.  First, is a claim for medical malpractice, which states that the hospital and doctors violated the standard of care by subjecting Dray to a C-section against her will.  Second is a claim under New York’s public health law, which states that patients have a right to refuse treatment.  Third, is the issue that Dray’s bladder was perforated during the C-section, leaving her with a longer than average recovery time.  Her case is still in its early stages, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out and whether this woman’s voice will fade into the background.



  1. Gravatar for Skip Jack

    The link to the "doctor" who rails against VBACs is a link to a non-practicing, unlicensed MD who is known for her intentionally provocative style. If you are going to cite a source of physician resistance to VBAC, it would be better to cite someone who attends births in today's medical climate.

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