Jan 14, 2017 News
An urgent investigation is warranted to ascertain whether a reported spike in the number of Caesarean Sections (C-Section) performed at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) should be urgently addressed.
This assertion was recently made by former Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, who during an interview with this publication yesterday, said that “in every rumour there might be some truth.”
The Minister was at the time making reference to reports that there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of C-Sections performed at the GPHC. This publication was privy to information that some 19 C-Sections were conducted during the course of a single day last year at the public health institution.
In fact it is being alleged that the procedures are being deliberately conducted in an attempt to control deliveries and by extension reduce the number of maternal mortalities. Although there were 17 maternal deaths in 2015, that figure plummeted last year to 12.
Minister Norton has shared his conviction that “I have no reason to think that doctors would carry out C-Sections to reduce maternal deaths. I don’t think that has happened or will ever happen.”
However, the Minister said, “I will not stand in the way of somebody doing an investigation. I would hate to think that this is being done at the GPHC or any other hospital, public or otherwise,” stressed Minister Norton.
A C-Section is the use of surgery to deliver one or more babies. It is usually required when a vaginal delivery would put the baby or mother at risk.
But according to Dr. Norton, a surgical procedure, regardless of how small, could still be deemed a colossal risk. Speaking from the perspective of a surgeon, he said, “I am a surgeon; I am an eye surgeon, and my motto has always been that there is no minor surgery. If somebody is going to be cutting away at you with a knife, there is nothing like minor there…So every surgery there is, has its risk.”
According to Minister Norton, for many years he had served at the GPHC in a senior capacity, even as a Senior Consultant for the past 28 years. “I never heard of C-Sections being the way to go to reduce the number of maternal deaths.”
Minister Norton, yesterday, emphasised his displeasure about the possibility of doctors opting to conduct more C-Sections instead of natural delivery without these being necessitated.
“I simply can’t see a conscientious, qualified physician opting to do a Caesarean Section without it being necessary,” said Minister Norton.
With each such procedure a woman, during her pregnancy, is placed at increased risk. “While there are reports that three (C-Sections) should be the maximum, I still think that three C-Sections are far too many for one woman,” said Minister Norton.
He recalled that during his tenure as Minister of Public Health there were at least four pregnant women whom he monitored very closely because they were each on their third C-Section. And this was in spite of the fact, the Minister said, that “these women had no issues…They were all healthy but because of the fact that their condition necessitated a C-Section I took it upon myself to make certain that the doctors know that I had an interest in those persons.”
“I visited the hospitals and clinics with them, I followed up and I even went to the time of delivery with them to make certain that everything went well…I was so concerned, and I can tell you this, no one in their right mind should do a C-Section unless it is necessary,” reiterated the former Public Health Minister.
According to reports, once a woman would have had an initial C-Section there is a high possibility that future pregnancies will require this procedure. However, C-Sections have been known to increase the risk of having a low-lying placenta in future pregnancies.
This complication has reportedly resulted in the loss of a great deal of blood during delivery.
Public Health officials recently disclosed that among the main causes of maternal mortality has been delivery-associated haemorrhaging.
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