Co-operation Instead of Hostility!
Doctors for Free and Safe Birth
Legal and Ethical Questions
During birth, everybody is entitled the right to have their personal data and all information of their medical status withheld from being made public in any form. Considering, that the number of women choosing to give birth at home is few, they can be easily identified, especially if they require hospital care and the location, date and name of the hospital is revealed.
So, we kindly ask all hospital and ambulance service doctors and staff, to abide by effective Hungarian law, and withhold all information from the media, unless authorized by the patient. We also kindly ask members of the media, to respect the patient’s rights and do not pass on unlawfully received information.
Medical practicioners, like everyone else, are ensured the right to be considered innocent, until proven guilty. These rights are specially emphisized by the Hungarian Medical Chamber’s Code of Ethics. Thus, we respectfully ask our colleagues, to keep from labeling and commenting on decisions made by dr. Ágnes Geréb, or any other doctor or midwife assisting in home birth, until a decision is reached by the professional jurisdictions authorized to do so. We also ask members of the media, to respect doctors’ and medical staffs’ rights.
The safety of home birth
International expert papers prove, that as long as the pregnancy is risk free, planned home birth is just as safe as delivering a child in the hospital. The only important difference between the two locations is, that the number of instrumental interventions and complications are significantly higher statistically in hospitals then at homes. Therefore, the complications which occured during last week’s widely reported home birth, would also have occured under institutionalized circumstances, and in higher numbers. Medical data clearly shows, that children born with serious complications are unfortunately, just as likely to die at hospitals, as in homes.
The public dispute of the complications is not only unlawful and unethical, but it also portrays a false picture, that complications occur more often during home birth, than in hospitals. In fact, the opposite is true. We also have to mention, the long-lasting effects of the chosen location and circumstances of the child birth. It is fact, that women giving birth at home are able to breastfeed their children longer, than women giving birth in hospitals. Breastfeeding is an elementary and influencing factor of the child’s health, it increases life-expectancy and reduces the risk of allergic illnesses.
Regulating home birth
Giving birth is a natural process, of which the biological process only represents one segment and its ’over industrialization’ is unacceptable. Home birth doesn’t just mean the location, but it also carries the opportunity for a woman to determine the process of the delivery, through which the attending individuals help and attend to her. The ’industrialization’ of birth is not only unacceptable in institutions, but also at homes.
Midwives assist in home births
There is no need for doctors to be present during home birth. The delivery is attended by a midwife with apt experience and no doctors or medical staff are present. Contrary to what the media has reported, there is also no need for an ambulance to be waiting in front of the house. This is the practice in Western Europe, and in North America as well. Hospital protocol cannot be adopted to home birth. Guidelines for home birth can only be established by professionals, who have already attended home births. Midwives, just like doctors, also have the right to make sovereign decisions –within their professional competence- based on experience and professional knowledge.
Co-operation instead of hostility!
There is an immediate need -without bias- of hospital care for a woman and her child if they have begun the birth at home. The legal base for the condition of co-operation between professionals attending home birth and doctors and hospital staff must be established. It is very important, that professionals attending home births have the opportunity to escort women and their children to the hospital and to continue their assistance there.
Options for locations and methods of birth
Choosing the location of the birth is a fundamental right. This right can only be restricted if the mother’s or the child’s life, or health is proven to be in significant danger beyond reasonable risk. This right comes from everyone’ right to dispose of their own body. We are not persuading anyone to deliver their child at home, but we consider the right to choose the home and the persons assisting in the birth, an indisputable right. To make such a decision, every expecting woman is obliged to responsibly orientate herself with her and her child’s medical status, her opportunities and risks involved.
We distinctly request, that regulations be established based on the opinions of those, who have already gained experience, or will be assisting in home birth. We also request, that experts capable of interpreting professional medical publishings on the subject in an impartial matter, be elected to participate in the drafting of the regulations.
Doctors for Free and Safe Birth