January, 2012

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In came Beyoncé and the security guards. Out went the hospital’s common sense—and common decency.

Friday, January 13th, 2012

As an OB-GYN who has delivered thousands of babies—including several with rich and famous parents—I’m scratching my head over the insanity at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City surrounding the birth of Beyoncé’s baby.

Here’s a sampling of what went on, according to The New York Times:

The familiar area outside the neonatal unit had been transformed: partitions had been put up, the maternity ward windows were completely covered, and even the hospitals’ security cameras had been taped over with paper. Guards with Secret Service-style earpieces roamed the floor.

“We were told we could walk no further,” Ms. Nash-Coulon said Monday. And when she and her husband, Neil, demanded an explanation, she added, the guard claimed, unconvincingly, “ ‘Well, they’re handling hazardous materials,’ ” even as a large group of people screened from view were passing through the main hallway he had declared off-limits.

Let me make this perfectly clear: The hospital had no right to bar other patients from having free access to their babies.  Worse, from a safety perspective, doctors were prevented from visiting their own patients on rounds, because of this so-called “security.”

Someone in the hospital decided that the celebrity of a hip-hop artist was sufficient to ignore medical necessity and common decency. Not a good message to send to sick people.

Beyond that, I’m alarmed to learn that the baby was born by Cesarean, as so many celebrity babies are today. I could be mistaken, but I doubt that Beyoncé’s OB-GYN warned her of the risks before treating little Blue Ivy’s birth like just another item on the to-do list. The risks are real: a dramatic increase in maternal deaths due to hemorrhage and infection; more babies ending up in the neonatal intensive care units after Cesarean births because of respiratory distress.

If she’d been my patient, I’d have told her what I tell other mothers-to-be: if God wanted women to have Cesareans, he would have put a zipper in the pubic area.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH