Good grief

What are these people on?

The Albany group, which works in Peckham, south London, where deprivation levels are high, has long been held up as a shining example of what is possible in NHS midwifery. It supports women to give birth wherever they choose – almost half give birth at home – and medical intervention rates are low. All women have their babies delivered by the midwife they first see and the group\’s caesarean and medical intervention rates are low.

But King\’s says babies delivered by Albany midwives had higher rates of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy – brain damage caused by lack of oxygen and lack of blood flow to the brain – than those delivered by midwives it employs directly over the last two and a half years. Such brain damage can be caused during birth – for example, if the cord gets wrapped around the baby\’s neck – but it can also occur in the womb.

So we\’ve a system which kills babies. Having found out that this system kills babies we\’ve decided to stop using this system. OK, sounds like a sensible decision there.

Supporters of the Albany group are outraged by what they consider an attack on the philosophy of independent midwifery and non-medicalised delivery. A vocal demonstration took place at the weekend outside the hospital, where women and children chanted: \”Save the Albany\”.

And yet there are people who insist that we should still use this system that kills babies?

What are they smoking?

8 comments on “Good grief

  1. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Doctors want all babies born in hospital hooked up to the machine that goes “ping!” and midwives are only one step removed from batty old village wise women.

    We’re talking about one, uno, ein incident here. Let’s keep a sense of proportion and remember consumer choice and all that, what?

  2. “We’re talking about one, uno, ein incident here.”

    No, we’re talking about one death. The one that triggered the investigation that showed that: “…babies delivered by Albany midwives had higher rates of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy – brain damage caused by lack of oxygen and lack of blood flow to the brain – than those delivered by midwives it employs directly over the last two and a half years. “

    I’m guessing that’s quite a lot of births to compare, no?

    “Let’s keep a sense of proportion and remember consumer choice and all that, what?”

    Not sure what ‘consumer choice’ has to do with it. We have trading standards to prevent electrical items with dodgy wiring from killing the consumer, don’t we? How is this any different?

  3. Umm, isn’t the child also a consumer here. I don’t share Tim’s views on abortion, but at the point of birth it seems the child must have some rights too.

  4. You might want to be a little careful here. Different methods of doing just about anything usually have different risks attached. You have not presented a complete study-only addressing one adverse outcome (there are several). Given the medical profession’s very poor record on considering such problems carefully, I’d like to see all the data before I reach your conclusion.

  5. I was being flippant because the doctors are simply restating their well-known position that all doctoring should be done by doctors under doctor approved conditions at doctor approved locations.

    I believe pregnant women are perfectly entitled to give birth at home if they wish. It is none of my business and I do not authorise the state to use force on my behalf to make them do otherwise.

    The case presented in the article could certainly be used to argue for better training for Albany midwives. I don’t think it makes the case for getting rid of Albany midwives.

  6. Agreed Roue, BUT the state does have the right not to make the taxpayer pay for everything that anyone asks for. Too many people seem to think that if others are not paying for their choices, they are somehow being oppressed. (I am against the NHS anyway, but given that we have one, I am certainly happy enough that it restrict itself to only paying for safe and/or effective treatments – you want voodoo, you pay for it).

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