by Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
When your doctor advises a medical procedure, you can usually rest assured you’ll be able to seek a second opinion before proceeding. Even minor medical procedures have risks, which is why it’s important to weigh all your options before submitting to one.
But what if you don’t have a choice?
Can you imagine being forced into a Cesarean section or being zapped with a Taser for refusing to submit a urine sample? The individuals below didn’t have to imagine.
For some, forced medical procedures are a frightening reality.
- Forced Cesarean Section
Thirty-five-year-old Rinat Dray reported having a difficult time recovering from the Cesarean sections she’d had with her first two children, which made her determined to deliver her third child naturally.
However, she was told by the doctors at Staten Island University Hospital that if she opted out of a C-section, it would be an act akin to child abuse. Despite her vehement protests, they wheeled her into surgery anyway.
Dr. James J. Ducey, the director of maternal and fetal medicine, added a note to her medical record, which stated, “I have decided to override her refusal to have a C-section.”
Since Rinat Dray did not give informed consent and stated her bladder was injured during the C-section, she is currently suing the hospital, citing negligence and malpractice.
In 2012, it is estimated that 33 percent of US births were delivered via C-section, although the World Health Organization (WHO) advises that only 10-15 percent of births need to be performed this way.
- Fired for Refusing Flu Vaccine
Late last year, Dreonna Breton, a pregnant registered nurse, lost her position with Horizons Healthcare Service in Lancaster, PA, for refusing a flu vaccine for medical reasons. Even though her doctor advised her not to get a flu vaccine and she had a note to prove it, the facility refused her exemption and she was terminated.
While the hospital certainly wasn’t advocating for Dreonna or anyone else who worked there to be held down and given a shot, being told your only alternative is termination would have many reluctantly rolling up their sleeves.
Not Donna. After two miscarriages, the young mother decided it was best for the health of her unborn child if she refused.
- Forced Rectal Examination
When 38-year-old Brian Persaud injured his head at a construction site in 2003, he was taken to the emergency room at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he received eight stitches to his head. During his treatment, Mr. Persaud claims he was forced to undergo a rectal examination to determine whether or not he had an injury to his spinal cord.
Though he adamantly protested the procedure, he claims he was held down and it was done against his will. During the struggle, Mr. Persaud freed one of his hands and struck a doctor. He was then sedated and a breathing tube inserted into his throat.
According to his lawyer, the experience left him psychologically damaged. He has since been unable to work and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. His lawyer states that since the incident, he is unable to trust anyone in “the system,” meaning neither police nor doctors.
- Tased for a Urine Sample
When 18-year-old Antonio Wheeler was arrested upon suspicion of dealing drugs, he was taken to an Orlando, Florida hospital where he was tied and handcuffed to a bed.
After being unable to or refusing to submit a urine sample, the hospital staff attempted to catheterize him. During his aggressive resistance of this procedure, the officer on the scene, Officer Peter Linnenkamp, used his Taser on the teenager twice.
Mr. Wheeler eventually provided a urine sample voluntarily, although after the incident, he gave a statement saying, “I feel I was basically raped.”
- Prison Inmates Sterilized without Consent
According to a report published by State Auditor Elaine Howle[1. https://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2013-120.pdf], 39 out of the 144 tubal ligations performed on inmates from fiscal years 2005-06 to 2012-13, were done without lawful consent.
In 27 of the cases, the inmate’s physician did not sign the required consent form stating that the patient appeared to be mentally competent and aware of the lasting effects of the operation. This is especially concerning because most of the women tested at less than a high school level of reading proficiency.
In many cases, the required 30-day waiting period before the procedure was also waived.
Dr. James Heinrich, Valley State’s OB-GYN, who either directly ordered the procedures or did so through a staff nurse, told the Center for Investigative Reporting that the money spent sterilizing inmates was minimal, “compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.”
Whether the patient is free or incarcerated, forced or coerced medical procedures raise serious moral and ethical questions.
Your Doctor May Prescribe Surgery Even if You Don’t Need It