Globe: C-Section Rates Reflect Hospital Subcultures

A doctor wonders how to stop the relentless rise in c-sections
A doctor wonders how to stop the relentless rise in c-sections

He does a wonderful weaving job in the latest Boston Globe magazine: from his own patient in a tricky delivery situation; to Cambridge Hospital, where the C-section rates are among the lowest in the state; to Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, where the rates are high. Some of the cultural and logistical factors that influence the rates may surprise you. What surprised me even more was this striking scene from a conference, given how much hand-wringing we tend to hear about C-section rates:

At a recent Las Vegas conference on obstetrical safety, some 125 members of the audience were asked to raise their hand to indicate their personal C-section rate. “Less than 15 percent?” the speaker asked. Two hands in the large auditorium went up. “Fifteen to 30 percent?” Half the hands were up. “More than 30 percent?” The rest. Then the speaker asked the room, “How many of you care?” No one raised a hand, and the room broke out in laughter.

This program aired on October 31, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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