Mother Loses Baby for Three Years Due to Refusing C-Section Pre-Consent

Ez - posted on 03/17/2011 ( 27 moms have responded )




V.M. has been separated from her baby for three years in the name of "child welfare." All because she didn't want to pre-authorize a cesarean section that neither she nor the hospital had any reason to believe would be medically necessary, and wasn't.

RH Reality Check reports that when V.M. showed up at the hospital planning to give birth vaginally, she was asked to sign a pre-consent form permitting a c-section should it become necessary. She refused. Had there been an unexpected complication with the pregnancy, V.M. could have consented to the procedure at that time, but she didn't want to sign away her ability to make decisions about whether or not her baby would be sliced out of her belly. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

The hospital, however, disagreed. After giving birth, without complications, V.M.'s newborn was taken away from her on charges of endangering child welfare. She and her husband have been fighting for three years now to get their child back.

There are a number of problems with this decision by the hospital, starting with the fact that the only welfare endangerment you could allege at the time of V.M's refusal was that of the fetus, since there was not yet any child. Secondly, many hospitals are trigger-happy when it comes to this surgery — this New Jersey hospital had a 50% c-section rate — which can be due to financial considerations or simple bias toward the procedure, although a c-section can have its own complications and pose issues for future pregnancies. Thirdly, there is controversy surrounding whether hospitals should even be allowed to ask for "pre-consent" from pregnant women with no signs of needing the procedure.

And finally, when it comes to cutting a woman's body open, her decision to wait and see, thank you very much, is fully within her choice. If she doesn't want to be slashed across her belly willy-nilly, that's her right. It is not the equivalent of child abuse.

National Advocates for Pregnant Women staff attorney Farah Diaz-Tello argued, "Once the door is open you can have field day with every aspect of a woman’s life." Fortunately, the courts have now agreed that the child abuse/neglect statutes do not apply to fetuses, and in a previous warning, refusing a c-section specifically was found to not constitute endangering a child's welfare.

V.M. and her husband are still separated from their child. Now they have to head back to the lower courts (if there's no appeal) to now only fight the hospital's claim that V.M. was acting irrational, hostile, and yelling — well, you would too if someone told you they were taking away your baby because you refused to pre-authorize an unnecessary c-section. Actually, that sounds pretty rational to me.



Sarah - posted on 03/18/2011




The thing that riles me up about that article is the wording......things like, "If she doesn't want to be slashed across her belly willy-nilly, that's her right." and "decisions about whether or not her baby would be sliced out of her belly"

Honestly, do people REALLY need to make C-sections sound so bloody awful all the time??

Mrs. - posted on 03/17/2011




Wait, isn't like a blog? Not saying that blogs don't sometimes have valid info or that the story isn't true. I just thought blogs are more like the "opinion" section of the paper.

There's something about this story that sounds a bit off, like there is some information missing. Might not be the case but it just doesn't sound fully fleshed out.


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[deleted account]

Had a feeling Laura there had to be more to the story, it didn't fit otherwise with just the fact she refused to sign a form before the birth.Very sad all the same.

Isobel - posted on 03/20/2011




it turned out she was actually mentally ill...there was more to the story

Brandi - posted on 03/20/2011




This is absolutely ridiculous. I did sign a consent form, but I don't think this child should be taken away because she didn't. I think if she said she would consent AFTER she knew there was absolutely no way to deliver vaginally then this is crap. This should not be possible!

Amanda - posted on 03/19/2011




i knew there had to be more to the story! it's just not beleivable the way it was in the blog article.
agree Sarah! as if they take a machete to your belly.

Dana - posted on 03/18/2011




Oh, haha, just read the comments and it seems I'm not the only one who thought this. Glad there's more to this story. Really the US isn't this big, bad, ripping babies from the womb nation and if you don't like it, we'll take your baby...

Veronica - posted on 03/18/2011




I had a c-section -- and have had VBACS since - they never had me sign any consent forms -- its more of an automatic - im high risk - when i get into the hospital they automatically put in an IV - so if i rupture or something happens, they can administer anesthetics immediately and get me into surgery right away (maybe why i dont have sign papers beforehand? lol) I think the only thing Ive had to sign that i can think of, is whether or not i want a tubal ligation or not.... but i dont recall anything else - and im not even sure if i had to sign anything for an epidural either - i told them i wanted one and now - and i got it... hmmmmm
But, in light of the new info -sounds like there is more to this, and it just wasn't making sense why a baby would be taken away solely because a mother refused to sign consent to c-section.... I guess at this point, i just pray that the right decision is made for this family - if they are truly unfit parents - then i trust that the courts know what they are doing.

April - posted on 03/18/2011




i was asked to sign a pre-consent form. I didn't want to but they convinced me that I would only have a c-section in a true emergency. It was all a bunch of bull$#@!. There was no emergency at all. If I knew better, I would have just walked out!! Oh well, can't change the past, but I hope they make it illegal to pre-consent to c-sections!

Isobel - posted on 03/18/2011




ahhh...thank you Sharon, I thought it sounded suspect and went to look it up and could only find articles in birthing advocate articles.

Becky - posted on 03/18/2011




If her child was really removed because she refused to sign a pre-consent to a c-section, that is absofinglutely insane and I'd almost venture to say, illegal. I'm almost certain there's more to the story.
I can't remember what I had to sign when I gave birth. I think I just signed something authorizing them to provide medical treatment as needed. But with my second, I signed it after he was already born because we didn't have time beforehand! I had to laugh about that one!

Ez - posted on 03/17/2011




Ahhh.. I read another article from another newspaper on this story and it didn't mention any mental health problems either. Weird.

They accused her of being combative? If I was bombarded with demands to sign pre-consent for "the administration of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, oxygen, fetal heart rate monitoring, an episiotomy and an epidural anesthetic" before even getting checked in, I would be too!

Kate CP - posted on 03/17/2011




That is scary as hell. I remember reading about this right when it happened, though, and thought it sounded like the woman was genuinely insane and WAS a danger to her new baby. But this new info sheds light on the whole situation. I feel for that family. :(

Sharon - posted on 03/17/2011




I found this down below Jodi's link in the comments section..

aussie_girl Frightening, but false
August 20, 2010 - 4:39am

Seriously, is it willfull ignorance you either didn't bother to check your facts, or are you deliberately trying to mislead people. Other? Really what is your excuse?

This case has *nothing* to do with c-sections and everything to do with serious mental illness and genuine concerns about the welfare of the child, which you would know if you bothered to read the court documents. It's all documented there in every painful detail. It's a very sad story but has nothing to do with c-sections.

Read the decision which is posted on this site. The site says the complete opposite of the actual court documents they posted.

pg 60 of court decision.

//Although there was evidence presented at the guardianship
trial regarding V.M.'s refusal to consent to a c-section, the
judge did not rely on that evidence in finding that DYFS had
established prong one. In contrast to the Title 9 trial, V.M.'s
failure to consent to a c-section did not form a major portion
of the evidence presented in the guardianship trial, nor was it
a "major consideration" in the court's decision. V.M., supra,
408 N.J. Super. at 249. Moreover, despite the Title 9 court's
reliance on V.M.'s conduct in refusing the procedure, on appeal
the majority determined that it need not address this issue
because there was sufficient other evidence to support the trial
court's finding of abuse and neglect as to V.M. Id. at 224. We
need not address this issue here except to note that to the
extent the judge considered the issue, it has no place in this
termination proceeding. //
Read the entire document and make an *informed* opinion.

Sharon - posted on 03/17/2011




this kind of crap scares the shit out of me. thank god I am past having any more kids.

I hope like hell they sue the fuck out of the hospital.

How in gods name did it ever get this far?

Jenn - posted on 03/17/2011




There's got to be more to this. Please tell me there's more to this. That's insane! I never signed anything like that. The only thing I signed was when I was getting the epidural.

Ez - posted on 03/17/2011




The pre-consent form is definitely an indicator of their 50% c-section rate. It's friggin outrageous. If the birth becomes an emergency surely they can get consent from her next of kin (husband). I had never heard of hospitals demanding pre-consents be signed for c-sections. Certainly not in Australia anyway. I did have to sign one, but that was after I had been pushing for 2.5hrs with my asynclitic baby. It was never needed as she came out in two pushes with forceps. But like hell I would be signing a pre-consent for surgery when arriving to deliver my child.

Jenni - posted on 03/17/2011




I didn't have to sign a consent form... that I recall?
3 years is a little harsh! Well if this is 100% the story then taking the baby at all is a little harsh.

Nikki - posted on 03/17/2011




Wow, I got cold shiver's reading this. Sorry for the language but what a bunch of arsehole's. This poor family, I hope when it's all sorted she can sue, it's not like she can get back the time with her child but this family needs to be compensated. This is just disgusting. One would consider that if the mother became impaired during child birth and either of their lives were at risk then it would be the doctor's call, but this is crazy. That poor mother. I can't believe I haven't heard of this, if this happened to me I would ensure I was on every bloody media forum with children's activists and humanity groups by my side kicking up the biggest stink since wiki leaks. Unbelievable. To think family services ignores calls of neglect and abuse everyday but they have the ability to do this.,

Lady Heather - posted on 03/17/2011




wtf. I never had to sign anything like that. I believe they take care of it when the time comes. Heck, I didn't even have to sign anything when I booked my c-section (which then wasn't needed).

Gee, the pre-consent couldn't have anything to do with the 50% section rate could it? 50%??? That's waaaaay not normal and should probably be investigated. It's freaking surgery, not a walk in the park!

Lacye - posted on 03/17/2011




That is absolutely insane. When I was in the hospital with my daughter, they told me that I had a choice between a c-section or having an epidural. It was my choice! This is absolutly awful and I hope to god the parents are planning on suing the hospital for all the legal fees that they have had to dish out since this mess happened.

Stifler's - posted on 03/17/2011




WHAT! Bloody hell I don't remember signing anything about a c-section. If she had no complications then what's the big problem? I feel that there must be some kind of backstory.

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