“Fucking hell, why can’t women in this hospital give birth naturally?”

// 25 September 2008

Samantha Shepherd was being informed by a doctor that she needed the emergency procedure because her pregnancy had become problematic and her then-unborn son Luke’s life was in danger.

However, the conversation was interrupted by Nigel Baglin, a surgery assistant, who shouted: “F—— hell, why can’t women in this hospital give birth naturally?”

According to The Telegraph story, the hearing on whether Baglin is fit to practice after this incident is still going on.

Here’s his justification:

Mr Baglin, an anaesthetic support agency worker, admitted making the comments. He said he had done so because he was “aghast” at the large number of Caesarean procedures being carried out at the hospital.

“It was like every patient on the ward wanted one and had consented to them,” he said. “It was an off-the-cuff comment. I admit it was inappropriate but I was being rushed around.”

He insisted: “It was a sarcastic comment aimed at the doctor and it was a mistake on my part.”

Via Jezebel.

Comments From You

The Boggart // Posted 25 September 2008 at 5:32 pm

Oh yes Mr Baglin, how dare these women have the audacity to expect the modern medical treatment they need, whilst giving birth in a modern, well-equipped hospital.

I only wish that him and his ilk could know what it is like to have a difficult labour stretching over two days, without analgesics or assistance, as they are berated at their most vulnerable by those in positions of superiority.

I am aware that natural birth/assisted birth is a contentious issue (and a matter of personal choice!) but as a fervent supporter of the latter, my position on this is quite clear.

Ruth Moss // Posted 25 September 2008 at 9:15 pm

Well, you know, it’s true that there is a high percentage of c-section births and a lot of speculation as to why this is. Of course, women are blamed (plus ca change) for being “too posh to push” whereas in reality, it’s much more likely that hospitals are pushing women into often unnecessary surgery for various reasons including fear of litigation.

Often women are told their baby’s life is in danger when in fact, they find out after the event that the risk to their baby was actually quite small.

And of course sometimes on the other hand, a c-section is an absolutely imperative life-saving operation for mother / baby.

And in this case it sounds like it was the latter. But the point is that EITHER WAY it was an awful comment to make.

If he had actually thought that the surgery was unnecessary and that the Doctor was not correct, he could have taken her/him to one side and quietly voiced his concerns.

Imagine what Samantha must have felt on hearing that dreadful comment! But the real reason he said it – nothing to do with concern for the mother / baby and certainly not concern at the high rate of c-section births… no, just blatant misogyny.

And, as an aside, as for “It was like every patient on the ward wanted one and had consented to them” – well – you try *not* consenting to a procedure on the labour ward, especially as a first-time mother. Whether or not you want what they are telling you, not complying is met with a steely wall of opposition (speaking from personal experience).

I can honestly say that if I ever have a second child I want to have her/him at home. Once you are in a hospital, you are treated like a conveyor belt product – certainly my experience anyway and that of most of my friends.

I understand from reading the original story that this woman was actually in the middle of labouring when this remark was made. I could go on for hours about the treatment labouring women receive at the hands of the medical profession and here is yet another example.

Women in labour are messy, make lots of noise, are uncontrollable… but powerful too; they’re bringing life into the world after all… and misogynists absolutely HATE this – it encompasses everything they loathe about women – the patriarchy (rule of fathers) hates that women should have this power to birth “their” children… oh let’s not forget there are vaginas and wombs involved too; everything that is hated about women is right there.

I don’t see why the hearing is still carrying on; he should be struck off immediately; poor Samantha. So many of us suffer birth trauma and it’s a horrible thing… vivid and painful memories and flash backs… and that’s without some misogynistic arsehole shouting hateful obscenities at you.

Shea // Posted 26 September 2008 at 7:32 pm

Agree with all of the above comments bar one.

“he should be struck off immediately”–

what he did was unprofessional and insensitive but it wasn’t negligent or malicious.Preventing an otherwise good and hard working professional from practicing his profession in one of the most stressful and overworked specialties because of a moment of ill advised opinion voicing seems very harsh. Discipline him by all means but strike him off? No.

ConservaTorygirl // Posted 26 September 2008 at 8:53 pm

Yes it was an error of judgement and a totally inappropriate comment at an inappropriate time.

On one hand, we have high rates of caesarean section in this country, on the other we have low levels of mortality surrounding childbirth.

I was a vocal opponent of caesarean section for years. Until I had one, without which myself and my daughter would both be dead. My only regret is that it could have been ascertained much earlier in my labour, saving me 36 hours of agony.

Victoria // Posted 26 September 2008 at 10:24 pm

Ruth Moss’s comment on this is spot on. I read about this elsewhere on the net and was despairing at the “everyone has a bad day at work” etc. comments excusing this man. When you’re pregnant it’s bad enough worrying about things just going wrong naturally, without having to worry that people will give you the wrong advice due to the hateful pseudo-morality surrounding pain and childbirth. And that’s only worry about advice, not outright insults.

I had a brilliant midwife when I gave birth and am sure this made the whole process easier. If I’d had to deal with the kind of environment Samantha had to, I haven’t a clue how I’d have coped. This man’s misogyny clearly makes him unable to do his job.

Renee // Posted 28 September 2008 at 12:36 am

Perhaps the timing of his commentary was not the most appropriate however he is absolutely right to point out that there is a rise in c-sections. Doctors are way to willing to cut into womens bodies. I believe that there is a correlation between the high rate of c-section and the high rate of hysterectomy. The medical establishment has proven time and time again that it is no friend to ‘woman’. I believe that the man should be reprimanded but not dismissed. If nothing else I hope that his commentary will bring attention to the unnecessary procedures that are being preformed on women.

Juliet // Posted 29 September 2008 at 11:50 pm

Nigel Baglin should be struck off, because he’s clearly got a massive attitude problem. That kind of behaviour, displayed once, is once too often.

And, Mr Baglin, in days of golden yore (which you must wish you could be Tardis’d back to, even if you would be out of a job) women did give birth naturally, all the time. Problem was, an awful lot of them died, along with their babies.

Kayley // Posted 14 October 2008 at 7:20 am

I totally and completely agree with Ruth Moss here. The fact that women are LIED to in order to make them consent to c-sections has nothing to do with helping women and everything to do with putting women back into the control of men.

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