Ask HRC: Informed Consent for Vaginal Delivery

September 23, 2005 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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A Healthcare Risk Control (HRC) member recently asked about requirements for obtaining informed consent for vaginal deliveries. Here is how HRC responded:

There seems to be a national consensus that is important to obtain the informed consent of the patient in regard to the mode of obstetrical delivery—whatever that may be. The various risks of vaginal delivery to the mother—among which are vaginal tears, pelvic floor injury, and the like—should be discussed with the patient so that if she is concerned about these risks, she will have the opportunity to explore elective cesarean section. As good risk management practice, patients should also be made aware whether your facility provides primary elective c-section deliveries. Recently, a national TV morning talk show featured a discussion about episiotomies, raising women's awareness of vaginal tears and other "risks" of vaginal delivery. Of course, there are also risks of primary c-section (and these risks may be the very reasons why your facility does not...

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