Well, sometimes maybe.
An investigation has been launched after a woman admitted to Montreal’s Royal Victoria Hospital for an induced birth was forced into a do-it-yourself delivery last month, with only her common-law partner to assist.
“We’re taking it very seriously,” Dr. Matt Kalina, assistant director for professional services at the McGill University Health Centre, said. “We’re reviewing the specific events thoroughly with the family…. We’re using the lessons to improve our systems.”
At about 5 a. m. on May 13, medical help failed to appear even after Karine Lachapelle’s water broke.
Despite attempts to summon help by partner Mark Schouls, who was pushing the nurse-alert button with increasing frequency as Ms. Lachapelle’s contractions became more intense and closer, the two delivered their new son, Kristophe, entirely on their own.
Ms. Lachapelle pushed the child out past his shoulders and face down– allowing Mr. Schouls to get a grip and pull the newborn the rest of the way out, he recounted.
Obviously, the U.S. system has its problems. But it isn’t even really a private system, since the government pays for such a large share of medical costs and skews the entire insurance system through federal tax policy. Nevertheless, there are far more private options and patients have far more control than in government-run systems. It is imperative that any “reform” effort preserves both private alternatives and patient choice. Indeed, the only real reform would be to make health care truly consumer-directed.