Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pit to whaaaa???

I tell you what, people. Just when you think you've heard the worst of the worst, you get deeper in the doo-doo (pardon my french) of our medical system in this country. What I am about to tell you in this post is going to send most of you through the roof in outrage. At least, those of you that I know are reading.... you lurkers out there might even be OBs for all I know... But that's another rant for another time.

The phrase is "pit to distress". Here's what that means, according to Jill, at Keyboard Revolutionary:
...the practice... entails administering the highest possible dosage of Pitocin in order to deliberately distress the fetus, so a C-section can be performed.

I know this sounds ridiculous. Barbaric. Surely not in America. But I kept reading. I read Nursing Birth's description of her interaction with a Dr who ordered her to "pit to distress":


Ladies and gentleman the account that you have just read is called “Pit to Distress” whether the pitocin order was actually written that way or not. What Dr. F gave me was a VERBAL ORDER to increase the pitocin, regardless of contraction or fetal heart rate pattern, until I reached “max pit,” which he acknowledged would hyperstimulate her uterus. This goes against our hospital’s policy and the physical written order that this doctor signed his name under. However, like some other doctors I work with, none of that mattered to him. What he wanted was for me to “crank her pit” regardless and from my experience with this doctor, at the first sign of fetal distress we would have been crashing down the hallway for a stat cesarean!



I read the nursing textbook page (Jill--Unnecesarean posted this excerpt from it in her article on the subject) that instructs a student nurse in how to deal with a order given to "pit to distress":



http://www.unnecesarean.com/storage/pittodistress.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1246941864328


I read this article about changing birth procedures that discusses the advisability (hah! ya think???) of discontinuing this practice. Someone (sorry, can't keep track of who sent me where) posted this excerpt:

"Pitocin is used like candy in the OB world, and that's one of the reasons for medical and legal risk," says Carla Provost, assistant vice president at Baystate, who notes that in many hospitals it is common practice to "pit to distress" -- or use the maximum dose of Pitocin to stimulate contractions.
Please, go read. Inform yourself. Get mad. Blog about it. Start a Revolution!!!!!

9 comments:

Tiffany Walensky said...

This makes me sick, but I too am not suprised. I was induced for labor 5 days before my due date because my blood pressure was a little high. I wanted to birth vaginally, but after being pumped full of pitocin for 8 hours and not progressing, the Dr told me I would have to have a c-section. It was going on 5pm, so just like you said, she was probably ready to just go home. It's incredible how common it is becoming.

Shaye said...

I'm SUPPOSED to be on sabbatical, but I can't help but read about all the pit to distress this week. As I've been posting bits about my birth stories the last week, I am just more and more thrilled that we didn't enter a hospital for our last birth. If I'm going to have to fight through every last intervention that's imposed on me, then no THANK YOU. The two c-sections were horrific and I'm certain the first one was initially caused by pitocin augmentation along with other horrible hospital protocol like not eating, laboring on my back, etc.

I'm following along...glad to have you in my reader.

~Shaye

Susannah Forshey said...

I watched, "The Business of Being Born" and heard some not-so-surprising info on there that Doctors are apparently far more liable in cases where complications arise during natural birth than they are during a C-section. In the case of a vaginal, unassisted delivery, if any one thing goes wrong, the Dr. can be considered liable...he "didn't do something". However, if a complication arises during a C-section, the Dr. is nearly exempt, since at that point he is considered to be "doing everything he can." So, a Dr. will hasten a C-section for the sake of completely controlling the situation and being considered "not liable." Once again, lawyers, insurance companies, court cases, and of course, money, is at the root of it all.

Jenny said...

That's just disgusting and all the more reason to find a doctor you TRUST! Preferably a Christian who understands you and your family.

Debbie said...

I read about this earlier today and was appalled. Not surprised though. Good for you for spreading the word.

Nursing.Birth said...

Thank you so much for the link! I am so glad that moms like you are also blogging about this! And I agree, having a home birth doesnt mean you are "brave" or "crazy." Sometimes even I feel like it is the other way around!

Melissa
www.nursingbirth.com

elisa said...

Ahah! Susi, that's good info. J and I had been pondering that...

julie said...

Ugh, ugh, UGH! When are we going to reach the point where this gets better? You would think, with more and more female OBs out there, and presumably a good percentage of those at some point have children of their own, that these horrible trends against the natural processes of the body would be spoken out against and start to reverse. In a way I can't believe this, yet in a sad way I also can. UGH! Keep speaking out!!!

geswinson said...

"If I need your help, I'll come ask for it"....Perfect!!!!! :)