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25-Year-Old Woman Sues Doctor For Not Delivering Her Via C-Section

Illustration for article titled 25-Year-Old Woman Sues Doctor For Not Delivering Her Via C-Section

Many women are concerned that once they're in labor, their doctors will ignore their birth plan. Halina Jane Gillett is suing Professor Jeffrey Robinson, one of Australia's most respected obstetricians, because she says he disregarded a request for a caesarean — from Gillett's mother in 1985. Instead, Robinson chose to deliver her using forceps, which she claims left her with a debilitating condition.

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News.com.au reports that Gillett suffers from Erb's palsy, which is often the result of delivery using forceps. She requires physiotherapy and can't fully use her arm. Gillett claims that the ailment is the result of Robinson's negligence, because he refused to consider her mother's request.

Two weeks before the birth of Gillett, Marilyn Benson-Inglis' fourth child, she was told that natural childbirth wasn't an option because of the position the girl was in. Since she'd suffered various complications, including a still-birth, during previous pregnancies, and felt her fourth child would be large, Benson-Inglis asked for a caesarean. Though in written statements Robinson agrees that the baby was likely to be big, he induced at 37 weeks and went with the forceps during the delivery.

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The case was first brought before the court five years ago, as 21 is the cutoff for such cases in Australia. It's still unclear why the family waited until Gillett was an adult to pursue the case, since presumably she's always known the likely cause of the condition. It's entirely possible that a bad call by Robinson left injured Gillett for life. However, at this point he's probably delivered hundreds, if not thousands, of babies and can't remember his rationale for ignoring his patient's wishes in the first place.

Halina Jane Gillett Sues Professor Jeffrey Robinson Over Her Own Birth [News.com.au]

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DISCUSSION

arischwartz
Ari Schwartz: Dark Lord of the Snark

I'm all for medical transparency, so it's good if at least we see him showing any kind of history as to why he chose the procedure.

However, at the same time, assuming what he did was an accepted practice at the time, I'm not sure how she can hope to win. Bad things happen even with good doctors. Every doctor kills or hurts someone at some point in his or her career, and not every time that happens will be malpractice.