Every woman who has ever been pregnant should have a birth plan. It may not be elaborate or expensive, heck, it may not even be definite, but we all should have a birth plan. We attend all our prenatal clinics and most of us go as far as choosing the doctor we want to attend to us. We pack our hospital bag - everyone has this one, and we start counting down to the D-Day.
The plan is usually simple, when the first contraction comes, drop everything, grab your bag, rush out, followed by the designated driver and head to the hospital. In this plan of ours, we leave no margin for error, after all, it is a birth and women have been doing this since time immemorial. We are confident that things will go well and unless we are going for a C-section, which comes with a whole other set of preparations, we all expect to go in, have our bundle of joy and come out after an overnight stay.
No one in their wildest dreams ever envisages a situation where her desire to have her baby may be blocked for one reason or the other in the throes of labor. Unfortunately, the situation is real and some women have been denied access to the labor ward for diverse reasons. Here are 15 reasons doctors might refuse a pregnant woman from the hospital.
15 There's No Room
St. Helen and Knowsley in Britain instituted a temporary 24-hour divert order for women in labor for a staggering 30 hours in February of 2016 sitting inactivity and a shortage of beds. A temporary divert order is where women in labor are asked to go to other hospitals to deliver their children because the wards in that hospital cannot take any more people. Unfortunately, despite a health order that forbids hospitals from turning away a patient in need, hospitals still continue to do this, sometimes diverting a mother in the throes of labor to a hospital that is sometimes 50 miles away. These diversions can be devastating to a woman in labor, especially since she will be scared of giving birth in the car or suffering complications en-route to the next hospital.
According to Pressreader, this is not an isolated case as the National Hospital in Reading, as well as the university hospitals in Southampton have also been closed on nearly 35 different occasions each.
14 No Referral, No Medical Attention
When a woman is pregnant she probably attends her prenatal clinics in the clinic or hospital closest to her house. In most cases, the hospital may be ill-equipped to handle all eventualities, especially if the mother-to-be is marked as having potential complications. These women are the ones who wind up in other hospitals in search of medical help.
Unfortunately, such women risk being turned away even if they’re in the throes of labor and even when the doctors clearly see that the woman is in danger, no referral means no medical attention.
The problem is that these referrals take a long time to get and chances are the woman will not have her referral letter by the time labor hits. While having a referral tells the doctor what sort of complication to expect, we still think that a doctor should be able to take care of an emergency case even without the referral, purely for the sake of saving the mother’s life, as well as the child.
13 Mom Is Packing Too Many Pounds
Some women are genetically predisposed to pack on a few and it is worse during pregnancy as sometimes the cravings and the pregnancy hormones conspire to make a pregnant woman pack a lot more. If one has been struggling with weight before, in pregnancy this battle may be lost. Unfortunately, a woman's weight can have her turned away from the hospital. The number of obese women is rising and with obesity comes the increase in the number of births that are problematic.
An obese pregnant woman is more likely to have problems with the anesthesia and most rural hospitals are not equipped to handle this. They advise pregnant women to look for alternative hospitals where they can get help in case of any unforeseen eventualities. While this may seem discriminatory, looking at it from their point of view, it would be better to have the woman go to a better-equipped hospital where she can get the help she needs instead of risking birth at a local hospital with only the help of a local GP who is not trained for such.
12 If The Doctor Decides It's Not 'Real Labor'
The body is an amazing thing and a mother-to-be has a sense of what her body is saying even before it says it. After months of waiting for her child, a mother can tell when a baby is ready to come out and even the body says when it is ready to let its tenant vacate the premises. According to the USA Today, a woman in labor, Irma Lopez, who was only 29 and a mother of two other kids (which means she knows what labor is like) walked from her hut in the rural areas of Mexico to have her child in the hospital. She was only eight months pregnant.
A nurse in the hospital decided she was not ready to deliver and insisted that she should go outside and walk around, saying that she would only be checked by a doctor in the morning.
One and a half hours later, Irma gave birth to her son outside on the lawn, while she held onto a wall of the house adjacent to the clinic all alone.
11 Not Enough Hospital Staff
According to the Telegraph, women in labor have repeatedly been turned away from hospitals because the hospitals are not able to care for them. In Britain, around 10 National Health Services were closed because there was a shortage of beds as well as staff during 2016. This is sad that such a developed country still has these issues with their health care services.
Some maternity units have gone for over 30 hours with closed doors or as much as 30 times in a period of one year due to a shortage of midwives. While one can understand that a shortage in health care workers means inadequate health care, it is imperative that the health department takes it upon itself to ensure that a hospital is adequately staffed to save the lives of women and their unborn children. Hiring enough midwives would cut down the rate of infant and maternal deaths by as much as a half.
10 Mom Can't Afford The Hospital Bill
Doctors apparently take something they call a Hippocratic Oath where they pledge to help anyone in need and to do their best to save lives. This oath seems not to cover pregnant women with no money or insurance with no access to health care. According to India Together, in February of 2015, Sama Parveen, a 21-year-old woman whose baby was halfway out was denied access to the hospital unless she paid Rs 1,000 to gain access to the hospital.
Even after delivering her child, she was still asked to produce Rs 500 before the doctors could cut the cord of her baby.
Even with money, some hospitals will refuse to take a patient who has no insurance due to their no cash policy. These policies can lead to the demise of the mother as well as the child and can cause harm to a child who would otherwise have been born healthy.
9 Faulty Equipment
According to the PressReader, in May 2011, a new mother, Michelle Hemington, went to Northampton General Hospital to have her baby. She was supposedly attended to by a total of 8 midwives during her labor, which lasted for 14 hours. While it is common practice for fetal monitoring to commence immediately after a woman arrives at the hospital in labor, this was not done on time in her case. After her son, whom she named Louis, was born lifeless, there was a continued delay in resuscitation procedure because the machine that was meant to do the job was not fully functional.
Hospitals accrue lots of funds from the money paid to them by patients and it is therefore inconceivable that a hospital this size could have faulty resuscitation equipment. This is not an isolated case, at Epsom and St. Helier University Hospitals Trust, their maternity unit was shut down twice due to a faulty elevator. To avoid such occurrences, hospitals prefer to turn away women with complications, preferring to pass the problem on to the next hospital.
8 Mom Is An Illegal Immigrant
Illegal immigrants are everywhere and if you enter a country illegally chances are you have no way of accessing medical care. According to an article by the post, in London, a Chinese woman who was in the middle of applying for asylum was informed that she could not access medical care in the country through the NHS because she was not in possession of a proof of address.
As much as this was a woman seeking for asylum, meaning she was not hiding her existence in the country, most pregnant women are forced to go out of their way to look for medical care from illegal medical clinics because they are afraid of being turned in to immigration and being deported. For them, enduring inhumane conditions is preferable to going back to the poverty they left behind.
Tragedies in these medical clinics are high as most of them do not have the right equipment or medical expertise.
7 No Wedding Band, No Access
In some countries, being pregnant and single is frowned upon and in India, this is abhorrent to the community. The rules are not only crazy in India but also in Qatar. According to the Doha News, a single lady who gave birth to a child could not go to the hospital because it is illegal to have a child out of wedlock.
It is also illegal to birth a child at home without going to the hospital, so in her case, she is doomed if she does and doomed if she doesn’t. To get medical care here in pregnancy, the father of the child has to be present as premarital sex is illegal and the two of them have to be married. The only loophole to prevent one from winding up in jail would be if the father agreed to marry the woman in question.
6 No Doctors Today
Even in developing countries, women and children are losing their lives over issues that can be managed. In Kenya, Saumu Sidi, a 26-year-old Muslim woman lost her unborn baby after she had a 24-hour prolonged labor. This happened after the woman was turned away from a record-breaking 10 different hospitals during a doctor’s strike in the country. At the time of the strike, a majority of doctors in public hospitals put down their tools. No tools, no doctors, and no medical intervention. So much for the Hippocratic Oath.
While medical care could be accessed from private hospitals, they were bursting at the seams due to excess clients who were shifting from the public hospitals to the private hospitals. Unfortunately, the trauma of the situation was ended up in tragedy and the woman lost her child.
5 Must Be 18 And Over
The Catholic Church is known for its many rules on the sanctity of marriage as well as celibacy and purity. It is ironic that a lot of impure things occurred in this church, but that is for another day. The Catholic Church promotes abstinence till marriage. That is why in earlier years pregnant teenage girls would be taken to a nunnery where they would have their kids and the children would be given out for adoption.
The Church firmly believes that intimacy should be purely for procreation and not for pleasure and they do not advocate procreation outside of marriage, nor is it for underage girls. Being pregnant, unmarried and underage is enough to give you a direct turn-around from a Catholic institution.
The Catholic institutions do not follow the health code, rather they follow directives issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
4 Christian Way Or The Highway
Pregnancies are complicated and anything can happen during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. In this day and age, it is still very sad that a pregnant woman can wind up in trouble because the person on the other end does not understand that a miscarriage most often occurs through no fault of the woman. Some countries have gone as far as to jail women for having a miscarriage as an adherence to their anti-abortion laws.
It is worse when a hospital that is meant to offer medical help to such women turns them away because they are opposed to the same. In 2009, according to US Catholic.org, St. Joseph Hospital in Phoenix went against the Catholic doctrine and chose to terminate a pregnancy to save the life of the mother. This unpopular move by the Catholic hospital garnered so much hullabaloo that the local Bishop went ahead to strip the hospital of its identity as a Catholic institution.
3 When It's Too Complicated
Sometimes a woman may be in the middle of her day and she gets a very sharp pain in her lower back. She is rushed to the hospital and instead of there being water as her discharge, she finds out that there is blood.
After being rushed to the hospital, the hospital staff may decide that this is too complicated for them to continue.
Women who are especially experiencing a threatened abortion wind up losing the child because the doctors are more likely than not to refuse to get them the much-needed stabilizing treatment and even more so if the hospital in question is a Catholic hospital. Catholic hospitals will not do anything for a woman who has a threatened abortion or is having a miscarriage due to their pro-life stance. Unfortunately, most of these women come out with infections after this traumatic experience.
2 The Hospital Is Too Busy
There was a reported a case where a 19-year-old woman was diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy and advised to stay under constant medical supervision. She followed the rules religiously and on her 23rd week she had severe pain and requested her mother to call an ambulance to transport her to the hospital. On arrival, the midwife informed the scared woman that she only had a UTI (urinary tract infection) and reprimanded her for calling the ambulance saying the ambulance was not there to be used as a personal taxi service.
The young lady whose water had broken some time back was sent home and while there she delivered a breech baby.
Had she been checked by the midwife her baby would probably have been saved, as a pregnancy on its 23rd week is quite viable and babies have been known to survive at this time.
1 Not Following The Rules
Every hospital has its own policies and in some hospitals, they are strictly against interventions on miscarriages, especially hospitals with religious affiliations. Women have been turned away from hospitals because the policy of the hospital says that any woman who has an abortion even if the abortion goes wrong and she is about to lose her life they can do nothing to save her. Some hospitals even refuse to offer medical help to women who have a blighted ovum, which is no woman's fault.
Some women have also been turned away because the hospital is under a turn away policy for any admission owing to no empty beds. Even though it is clearly illegal to do so, and in spite of numerous protests from all corners of the world, some women have lost their lives due to this archaic hospital rule that sadly continues to be imposed on helpless pregnant women.