Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Useless, Costly Medicine

I ran across an article yesterday in the November 30, 2009 issue of Forbes discussing the $2.5 TRILLION dollars our country spent on healthcare services in 2009 and how many of these costs for services are unnecessary and sometimes more dangerous.  It was very insightful.   The article discussed everything from back pain treatments to heart stints to fetal heart rate monitoring during labors...I wanted to quote what they said regarding the fetal heart rate monitors because I feel that the majority of times it is used is unnecessary and leads to stress for the mother and baby in labor and often times to unnecessary Caesarean sections.

In regards to fetal heart rate monitoring, They don't lower neonatal death rates, but they do boost the number of costly caesarean sections, big studies have found.  Robert Langreth, Useless Medicine, Forbes, Vol. 184, Number 10, 2009.

In my experience with the above medical service that was provided for me during my pregnancy, I first found the enjoyment of hearing Park's heartbeat followed by the annoying duty of having to go in all too often during my last trimester for tests to ensure he was safe.  Okay okay, I admit that this was a form of preventative care for my unborn child and I respect that.  However, in one experience I had to lie there for over 2 hours (which is a lifetime to a pregnant woman who has to pee every fifteen minutes) because Park was "awake" during the time of monitoring and they "needed" his sleeping heart rate.  Let me just mention that in addition to the necessity of his sleeping heart rate I was also charged triple for the amount of time needed to get those final numbers.  Please somebody tell me why his sleeping heart rate was so necessary and why I had to pay so much for the time to get it!!!

After waiting 6 hours after labor began where my contractions were about 4 minutes apart, I decided it was time to head to the hospital.  The nurse who began "treating" me told me I needed to lie down on the hospital bed so she could get Park's fetal heart rate...not just for a few minutes but for much longer.  It was torture.  I don't think lying on my back for 30 minutes during labor is going to help with the progress of my situation in any way.   If anything, it probably delayed it further.  I know I have some good information on the natural rhythm of a baby's heart rate during labor but my book is out and still waiting for it's return...I will have to postpone that information to a later date.

I understand that in high risk maternity patients, the fetal heart rate monitor can be very beneficial to mother and baby.  But in my opinion, which is not professional but based on experience alone, I feel that it creates stress, is medically unnecessary in healthy pregnant women and can be very dangerous.

Mommy Bridget

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