To the editor: To deduce that the caesarean delivery rate has been decreasing because insurance companies have demanded cost cutting misses all the efforts made by health groups to educate not only obstetricians, but also hospital administrators and the public regarding the risks involved with unnecessary C-sections over the last several years. ("Thinking about a C-section? Here's why your hospital may say no," March 8)
The C-section rate had been steadily rising from 1997 to 2009 across the country, and complications of delivery including infection, hemorrhage and even death were also rising. To curtail these complications and reduce the number of unnecessary surgeries, strong efforts to educate and inform have been made. Fortunately, these efforts have led to declining rates of C-sections since 2010.
Of course, the insurance industry has enjoyed the fruits of these efforts and has worked to decrease the rate as well. But I would hate for any family to believe a C-section was not performed because the insurance company was insisting on vaginal deliveries to save money.
With a low-risk patient, vaginal delivery is the preferred method, and every effort should be made to continue this healthy trend.
Beverly Sansone, MD, Fountain Valley
To the editor: As an obstetrician, I know that it is expensive to have an OB in labor and delivery constantly.
But since OBs who work only in the hospital have been at my medical center in Torrance for the past four years, several newborns and mothers have been saved. Likewise, their presence on the ward allows more women with prior C-sections to attempt a vaginal birth. Women are assured these doctors and the services they provide are instantly available if they should need them.
In my book, the extra costs are worth every penny and more.
Michael L. Friedman, MD, Torrance