When is a hospital like a restaurant?

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Here’s a riddle:

When is a hospital like a restaurant?

The riddle came to mind after reading yet another idiotic piece on the festival of stupidity known as Mothering.com. The piece is entitled Breech Birth: Why Can’t Women Have it Their Way?, written by Lauren McClain, “one of the most passionate and knowledgeable breech experts out there”.

Under what rock do the clowns of Mothering.com live where giving birth to a breech baby and reading junk from other lay people makes you one of the most passionate and knowledgeable breech experts out there?

Pro tip for the folks at Mothering.com: In order to be an expert on breech birth, you must:

  • have advanced medical training
  • have delivered hundreds or thousands of babies
  • have delivered breech babies
  • be experienced with the Mariceau-Smellie-Veit maneuver
  • know how to prevent and resolve nuchal arms
  • know how to apply Piper forceps to a trapped after-coming head.

How many of these qualifications does Lauren McClain have? Funny you should ask; she has ZERO. Claiming she is an expert on breech is like claiming that she is an expert on structural engineering because she once crossed a bridge.

Lauren apparently believes that hospitals are like restaurants:

… [I]t’s silly to walk into a McDonald’s and ask for a salad Niçoise, almost as silly as asking for a vaginal breech birth at a major medical center…

In any good restaurant, you can have things a number of different ways. In excellent restaurants, you can even say, “I’m vegetarian, I don’t see anything that strikes me on the menu. Have the chef create something.” They want to serve you, they want to get you the best possible care and nourishment they can, and they care what you think when you leave.

Lauren then proceeds to whine in alliteration, insisting that hospital care of breech babies suffers from impatience, ineptitude, and impersonal care.

According to Lauren:

Though there are certainly exceptional doctors working within the establishment, the general truth is that the choices in childbirth are abysmal. Almost no one does twin or breech births. Few doctors can perform ECV or have much useful knowledge of fetal positioning. They can’t (or won’t) help turn a posterior. Since they make liberal use of sonogram, their ability to palpate the abdomen has gone out the window. Many have never even witnessed a planned un-medicated, un-induced and un-augmented birth, much less an active birth.

How does Lauren know this?

Duh! She knows this the same way all natural childbirth advocates “know” anything. Another equally ignorant natural childbirth advocate made it up and told her.

Lauren wants salad Niçoise (breech vaginal birth). Her local restaurant, Chez Amy, doesn’t serve salad Niçoise. Unbeknownst to Lauren, that’s because improperly prepared salad Niçoise can cause illness and death and Chez Amy doesn’t want to take the chance of killing anyone.

=Chez Amy offers filet mignon, but Lauren doesn’t want that. Lauren wants salad Niçoise. and, dammit, she’s going to get salad Niçoise. Therefore, she heads off to a self-proclaimed “restaurant” in her neighbor’s basement, Wize Wimmen Resterent. I say self-proclaimed because Wize Wimmen Resterent doesn’t adhere to any of the regulations governing restaurants and doesn’t even allow health inspections to ensure that the restaurant is safe, let alone high quality. But that’s okay with Lauren because she’s “done her research” and “knows” that she won’t get sick from improperly prepared salad Niçoise.

For Lauren, that’s the beginning and the end of the analogy. She goes to Wize Wimmen Resterent, gets salad Niçoise and lives happily ever after, empowered by the knowledge that she got what she wanted.

But let’s take Lauren at her word for a moment and extend her restaurant analogy.

Let’s imagine that Lauren eats her salad Niçoise at Wize Wimmen Resterent and gets food poisoning from contaminated tuna in the salad.

What does she do? She does the equivalent of what women do when their breech baby gets stuck at homebirth:

She has one of the wize wimmen drive her to Chez Amy, appears on the doorstep and demands entry. She insists that all other patrons of Chez Amy be ignored while her needs are met first. She demands that the chef at Chez Amy do something to immediately stop her nausea and vomiting, although she has no idea what that might be or if such a treatment even exists. Then she demands that the chef immediately produce a filet mignon since she is hungry because she vomited up her salad Niçoise.

Lauren “knows” that restaurants who care about providing good service would, of course, immediately usher in a patron spewing vomit and diarrhea who had acquired food poisoning elsewhere, prepare a remedy and offer a perfectly cooked filet mignon. And that’s despite the fact that Lauren is planning to sue Chez Amy because 1. the filet mignon was not the exact degree of medium rare that Lauren prefers, and 2. she only got sick because Chez Amy forced her to go to Wize Wimmen Resterent by refusing to carry salad Niçoise on its menu in the first place.

That’s what happens in the world of restaurants, right?

Wrong! As we all know, not only would no restaurant would cater to behavior like that, and no remotely reasonable person would expect them to do so.

We appear to have found the answer to our riddle. When is a hospital like a restaurant?

NEVER, and only a fool would think otherwise.