Here’s one of the tough questions. (Lots of parenthetical explanations, too.)
I believe that the doctors should have gotten the best informed consent that they could obtain and allowed an attempt of vaginal delivery. I can’t bear the idea of “tying down” a mother for forced surgery while she begs me to stop. However . . .
We weren’t there and don’t know from this report the condition of the baby or the mother at the time that they wheeled them into the operating room.
It appears that they did wait “several hours.”
We have precedent that mothers in labor may not make life-changing and -threatening decisions. For instance, the law doesn’t allow Medicaid to be billed unless a mother consents to tubal ligation at least 4 weeks prior to delivery. Even with private insurance or cash-pay, few doctors will perform a sterilization without consent obtained in advance. (I understand that the purpose of this law is to prevent coercion and eugenics, but the one-size-fits-all seems patronizing to all mothers.)
I’ve assisted several women who became hysterical at the end of labor. (One woman stood up on the gurney several times, even as her baby was “crowning” and we were trying to prep her for the imminent delivery. I was a resident in training, and my supervisor ordered the sedation and restraints to protect her from falling from the bed, and the baby from a free-fall delivery from over our heads. She delivered her baby almost immediately after the last time we got her on her back – before the restraining orders could be followed.)
The mother in this story did present herself at the hospital, implying (and possibly signing) consent to the treatment by her attending obstetrician. If she had stayed home for the delivery, there would be no dispute in the first place.