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Cruelty in Maternity Wards: Fifty Years Later

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Fifty years have passed since a scandal broke over inhumane treatment of laboring women in U.S. hospitals, yet first-person and eyewitness reports document that medical care providers continue to subject childbearing women to verbal and physical abuse and even to what would constitute sexual assault in any other context. Women frequently are denied their right to make informed decisions about care and may be punished for attempting to assert their right to refusal. Mistreatment is not uncommon and persists because of factors inherent to hospital social culture. Concerted action on the part of all stakeholders will be required to bring about systemic reform.
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Keywords: abuse of childbearing women; dysfunctional hospital social systems; patient safety; post-traumatic stress disorder

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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