Abuse in Hospital-Based Birth Settings?
Are laboring and birthing women treated abusively in the hospital? Although seldom recognized as abuse or violence against women, bullying and medical treatments under false pretenses, even in a hospital, constitute abuse and a basic human rights issue that needs attention. Naming the problem is a first step. The power of medical authority, the lack of accountability in the hospital hierarchical system, policies and protocols, and expectations of compliancy all make an environment ripe for abuse and present obstacles for both women and staff to recognize or stop abuse. Learning to recognize abuse and take effective action, and understanding the legal requirements for “informed consent” can help, but ending abuse will require systemic change.
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Document Type: Editorial
Publication date: January 1, 2009
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