MAYD to Birth: At Your Doorstep

Promoting gentle, empowering mother journies…

This just keeps coming up.

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I know I harp on this all the time, but I came across another article about hospital-acquired infections… I think this is one of the best arguments for home birth for normal, healthy women (especially if they don’t like hospitals)
In case you didn’t catch this information from the sidebar…
— Infections contracted in hospitals are the fourth largest killer in the United States, causing as many deaths as AIDS, breast cancer and auto accidents combined.
— One out of every 20 hospital patients gets an infection. That’s 2 million Americans a year, and an estimated 103,000 of them die.
— The single most important way to reduce hospital infection, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is for doctors and other health care workers to clean their
hands in between treating patients.
1 out of 20 patients! Holy moly!
At The Farm, a commune in Tennessee and home of modern midwifery pioneer Ina May Gaskin, they have tracked their statistics for births managed by their midwifery service for more than 30 years. For the low-risk women that they cared for from 1970-2000 95% completed their births at home (or someone else’s home) and only 1.3% were transported in an emergency situation (that doesn’t mean that they weren’t fine in the end, but that something did go wrong that they required hospital care quickly). That is 1 in 100 women, roughly, who had an problem that the midwives couldn’t handle and was potentially life threatening. 1 in 20 vs 1 in 100 -which risk do you prefer? Women should be entitled to make that choice based on their own instincts and situations, there isn’t a really obvious right answer.
The AMA disagrees with me, they think that they are entitled to make the choice for you by outlawing home birth.

Broken down system

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This information came across my radar today…

Medical expenditures associated with an uncomplicated pregnancy and hospital birth averaged about $7,600 in 2004, according to a new report released by HHS‘ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat,10/19). For the report, the agency gathered data from 2001 to 2004 from three panels of the Household Component of the Medical ExpendituresSurvey. [...]

I am amazed. $7600 for an uncomplicated birth, imagine a complicated one! It just boggles my mind that it can cost that much and yet the women in the hospital are still hooked to a machine and left alone for most of their stay. You’d think that with that kind of financial outlay that the hospital could afford to at least get enough nurses on staff to have only 1-2 patients per nurse.

Of course that isn’t where the money goes… Big chunk to malpractice insurance, big chunk to bureaucracy, and then of course you have to pay the CEOs of the HMOs and insurance companies. How expensive is that? Take a look:

Here is a list I recently obtained of insurance executives salaries:
1. Oxford Health Plans, Norman C. Payson, former chairman and CEO, $76million.
2. WellPoint, Leonard D. Schaeffer, chairman and CEO, $21.8 million.
3. Coventry, Allen F. Wise, president and CEO, $21.7 million.
4. UnitedHealth, R. Channing Wheeler, CEO, Uniprise, $9.6 million.
5. Aetna, John W. Rowe, MD, chairman and CEO, $8.9 million

And unexercised stock options:
1. UnitedHealth, William W. McGuire, MD, chairman and CEO, $530 million
2. WellPoint, Leonard D. Schaeffer, chairman and CEO, $93.1 million
3. Oxford Health Plans, Norman C. Payson, former chairman and CEO, $25.6million
4. Aetna, John W. Rowe, MD, chairman and CEO, $24.1 million
5. Health Net, Jay M. Gellert, president and CEO, $23.5 million.

The nurses make a living wage, but certainly aren’t getting wealthy. The doctors constantly battle to keep their heads above water with their outrageous malpractice costs and having to stand on their heads for every dollar from the insurance companies. The government is not setting a good example either, they reimburse doctors a pitiful $500 for a Medicaid delivery. No wonder it is so difficult for poor people to get care when no doctor can afford to attend them and stay in business.

Our health care dollars are so poorly managed, not nearly enough of it pays for actual medical care! The anarchist in me says it is time to destroy the system and start from scratch. I just hope congress and the next administration can find a way to work for the needs of the people instead of the needs of their campaign donors.