Medical Experts Alarmed by Out-of-Hospital Cesareans in Florida

A new law in Florida allowing doctors to perform cesarean sections in outpatient birthing centers has raised serious safety concerns among medical experts, who say the procedures carry a small but real risk of life-threatening complications and should not be undertaken outside hospitals.

The proposed new facilities, to be called advanced birth centers, will not be able to rapidly mobilize extra staff, equipment and expertise should complications suddenly occur, as a hospital would, critics noted.

“A pregnant patient who is considered low risk in one moment can suddenly need lifesaving care in the next,” said Dr. Cole Greves, the Florida district chairman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“Advanced birth centers, even with increased regulations, cannot guarantee the level of safety patients would receive within a hospital,” he said.

Florida’s law, the first of its kind in the nation, comes as the United States grapples with a maternal mortality rate that far exceeds those of comparable high-income countries.

Florida itself lags other states in maternal care, getting a D+ grade in a recent March of Dimes report because of higher than average maternal mortality rates and mortality rates among Black babies that are double those of white infants. The state has high rates of C-sections, and rates of preterm births and infant deaths are worse than the national average.



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