Dr. Keirns, help us understand your childbirth experience by letting your doctors tell THEIR side


Yesterday’s post, OMG! OMG! OMG! I was pressured to have a C-section just because I was a 40 year old insulin dependent diabetic with pre-eclampsia and bloody urine, was about Dr. Carla Keirns and her attempts in the professional and lay press to shoehorn her high risk birth into the natural childbirth narrative of the “unnecesarean.”

As I explained:

Dr. Keirns and her pregnancy were extremely high risk. She was 40 years old, which put her at risk right from the get go, but in addition she had a very serious pre-existing medical condition. Although Dr. Keirns implies that her diabetes was related to pregnancy, her need for insulin in the first trimester suggests that she may have type II diabetes unrelated to pregnancy. Furthermore, although she doesn’t explain the diagnosis, the fact that she was on magnesium sulfate to prevent the seizures of pre-eclampsia, and was spontaneously bleeding from her bladder, suggests that she was developing HELLP syndrome, a particularly dangerous variant that also affects blood clotting and liver function.

Nonetheless, Dr. Keirns wants us to believe that she was being pressured into a C-section that she didn’t need. How does she know that she didn’t need it?

… My son came out blue and not breathing. I listened for crying but didn’t hear any. I barely heard the doctors say it was a boy. Meanwhile, as the NICU unit was summoned to attend to my son, I began to hemorrhage …

After we were both stabilized, they handed the baby to my husband; I was too exhausted to safely hold him.

As I said yesterday, if nearly killing your baby and yourself qualifies as a “successful” vaginal delivery, I’d hate to see what failure looked like.

The people I really feel sorry for in this story are Dr. Keirns’ providers, not because I’m sure that they did everything right, but because they are being publicly humiliated without any chance to defend themselves.

Therefore, in one of several Twitter exchanges, I suggested to Dr. Keirns what is shown in the tweet below:

Keirns tweet 1-8-15

Dr. Keirns should absolve her providers of their obligation of confidentiality and let them tell what they think happened and why they repeatedly recommended a C-section. If the story that Dr. Keirns blared to the medical and lay press is true, they will be able to confirm it. If not, they’ll be able to defend themselves. Seems only fair, right? Otherwise, Dr. Keirns is just a very high risk patient trying to shoehorn her experience into the approved natural childbirth narrative.

I find it incredibly ironic that Dr. Keirns, a specialist in preventive medicine, utterly failed to understand that C-section in HER case was recommended as a form of prevention. I’d love to know whether her providers saw it that way, too.

I also find it deeply unfair that Dr. Keirns has publicly humiliated them without giving them an opportunity to explain what they thought was happening and why they made the recommendations that they did. As a physician, she knows that doctors are often subjected to second guessing by patients, and, when given a chance to explain their reasoning, can often help the patient understand why they did what they did, and said what they said. Since she publicly second guessed the doctors and nurses who cared for her, she should give them an opportunity to provide a public explanation.

How about it Dr. Keirns? Are you willing to allow your providers to speak publicly about your case? Think of it as a public version of Morbidity and Mortality Rounds. M & M’s are incredible learning opportunities. Everyone could learn something from your story: the public, your providers, and, I dare say, YOU.

All it takes is your consent, and we can hear both sides. Will you give that consent?