Mother sues hospital claiming forced C-section

A woman is suing a New York hospital, claiming she was given a cesarean section against her will, reports CBS News contributor Dr. Holly Phillips.

Rinat Dray, 35, is the mother of three boys. Her first two were delivered by C-section and resulted in difficult recoveries. So in 2011, she was determined to have her next baby naturally, through a procedure called "vaginal birth after cesarean," or VBAC. It carries risk but can be performed successfully.

After several hours of labor, Dray's doctor pushed back.

"He said, 'It doesn't matter if you're making good progress. I don't think it's going to be natural. I don't have all day for you,"' Dray said.

She said she felt he was being impatient as he continued to pressure her to have a C-section right away, warning her that her uterus would rupture and her baby was at risk.

"They pushed me into the operation. I was begging all the way, 'Don't do it, my baby is fine! Don't do it!"' Dray said. "His answer was just, 'Don't speak."'

Ultimately, Dray said she never gave consent when she was going into her C-section procedure.

Dray is suing the hospital and doctors, claiming negligence, malpractice and lack of informed consent.

Michael Bast, Dray's attorney, provided the doctor's handwritten note from her medical file, spelling out his concerns.

"The fetus is at risk for serious harm without the C-section, and for the mother, 'benefits ...outweigh risks,"' said a note in which a senior hospital staff signed off on the procedure.

Dray's attorney said the smoking gun for her case is also in the notes.

"I have decided to override her refusal to have a C-section," the doctor wrote.

"The mother has the right. It is morally wrong, it is medically wrong, it is always wrong to take a knife and stick it into a woman when she says no," Bast said.

Staten Island University Hospital officials said they doesn't comment on pending litigation but supports a woman's decision to have a vaginal birth after C-section. They said they have an overall C-section rate of 22 percent, well below the state average of 34.1 percent.

Still, experts say hospitals may lack legal and ethical footing in circumstances like these, even when acting in the best interest of the mother and baby.

"It is not the doctor's call," said Art Caplan, bioethicist at NYU Langone Medical Center. "The doctor can cajole, persuade, argue, do everything in their power to get the woman to change her mind, but they should not ever do a procedure, even with the fetus in trouble against the will of the mother. That sets up a slippery slope that we don't want to travel down."

Dray said she would like to grow her family of three boys, but she said giving birth scares her now.

"They forced me like that. It was very painful to be treated all this way," she said, adding that she felt like her rights were being taken away from her.

"I was treated less than an animal," Dray said.

Dray also said her bladder was damaged in the C-section delivery and she is seeking unspecified damages for that, as well.

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