ROME, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Sarah Keesler sits in a rocking chair at Rome Memorial Hospital, holding her baby girl who was 10 days late.
"Sometimes you hear doctors will rush into cesareans and I didn't want that," said Keesler.
A new Consumer Reports investigation finds many hospitals perform more c-sections than necessary. They did a detailed report across 22 states, including over 100 hospitals in New York.
Rome Memorial Hospital performs the lowest number of what the magazine referred to as unnecessary c-sections with a rate one-third lower than the national average of 17.6 percent. The rates are based on the number of c-sections performed on women who have a low-risk pregnancy. That means the woman hasn't had a c-section before, isn't delivering prematurely, and is pregnant with a single baby that is properly positioned.
"Cesarean sections, while they're certainly medically necessary and extremely important to do, they can be fraught with complications. Internal hemorrhage, the need for future cesarean sections potentially, risk of blood clots, pain afterwards and so on," said Dr. Ankur Desai, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Rome Memorial Hospital.
In recent years, this issue has gained more attention with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Foundation recommending doctors not be so quick to perform the surgery. Dr. Desai says some of the reasons for higher ratings can include:
"Not having the potential support of the staff member, not having the support from your patient making them understand why you're letting the labor continue. I think fear of litigation certainly is a very important part of what we do in Obstetrics, especially in this country. That is a common theme throughout medicine," said Dr. Desai.
One local hospital not rated in the report is Faxton Saint Luke's Healthcare, whose c-section numbers are just above the national average. Doctors say some of the reasons behind their numbers are they deal with:
- Nearly three times the rate of mothers younger than the age of 17.
- Nearly two times the rate of mothers who come from a lower socio-economic group.
- A 33 percent higher incidence of mothers who smoke during pregnancy.
"FSLH continuously looks for ways to reduce the number of births by c-section when appropriate, always having the goal of a healthy mother and healthy baby in mind," said Dr. Michael F. Trevisani in a written statement to NEWSChannel 2.
For the full report, click here.
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