Amy Teuter is on a one-woman crusade against NCB. I used to hate her, a lot. I got a pretty awful impression from her because the first thing I saw when I went to her website was an article about a woman who shared her homebirth death story. I also saw various articles by Dr. Tuteur about parenting choices and birth trauma, calling people who choose home birth names, etc etc.
None of that makes her wrong about the safety of out of hospital birth.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think she is pretty damn awful in some respects, but no one has really proven her wrong about her opinions about obstetrics. She really knows her shit, and the only thing people seem able to do is attack her for other reasons.
People who dislike her need to see some of the more compassionate pieces she has written. All people have good and bad in them.
The truth is, though, that I don’t hate homebirth. Homebirth is a choice that every women is entitled to make and I would never ban the choice even if I could.
There’s more, too. She helped a family who lost someone due to an anesthesiologists negligence. She was furious that this had happened and that the hospital tried to cover it up.
I am very, very sorry that your baby was injured or died. So sorry, in fact, that I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else. It is deeply unfortunate that your stories serve as object lessons of the dangers of homebirth, but, in my judgment, the loss is compounded if we refuse to learn from these deaths, if we refuse to acknowledge just how common they are
Nonetheless, I was shaken up by the experience. She had only gotten the appropriate treatment because I had been willing to fight with the radiologist. In some ways, it had been a matter of luck. I wasn’t busy with other things; the radiologist had aggravated me, and was determined to prevail. I was uncomfortably aware that had circumstances been different, I might have failed to force the issue, and the patient would probably have died.
Doctors fight with insurance companies all the time, both to get approval for tests and procedures that patients need, and to get paid for visits, tests and procedures that have already occurred.
Most people don’t realize that doctors are often forced to fight with each other. The perverse incentives and punishments of the existing insurance system mean doctors who are trying to treat a patient must argue with other doctors who fear they will not be paid for their work. Sometimes, rather than fight to the bitter end, a doctor will give up and a patient won’t get a test or treatment that she needs. And sometimes, giving up could have fatal consequences.