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'Patient-choice' C-section rate rises 36%: HealthGrades study

More women choosing C-sections when no medical necessity exists - Florida, New York, New Jersey have highest rates;Nevada, Washington, Florida increase most

The number of pregnant women choosing to have a "patient-choice" Cesarean section (C-section) rose by 36.6 percent from 2001 to 2003, according to a study released today by HealthGrades, the leading provider of independent healthcare ratings. The study also finds wide variation from state to state in the rate of these types of C-sections, for which there is no medical necessity.

Complication rates from "patient-choice" C-sections are one factor in the ratings of maternity care at more than 1,500 hospitals, which HealthGrades posts free of charge for consumers at www.healthgrades.com. The ratings are designed to let women compare the quality of maternity care among local hospitals.

Dr. Samantha Collier, HealthGrades' vice president of medical affairs and the author of the study, said, "The controversy over 'patient-choice' C-sections continues in the medical community, with some doctors believing that patients should have the ability to choose a C-section if they prefer. Other doctors believe that patients can never fully understand the risks involved, and should never choose major surgery when it is not necessary. Despite the controversy, this much is clear: the 'patient-choice' C-section rate in America has accelerated in each of the three years HealthGrades has been conducting this study, so consumers are making their preferences known."

The rise of 36.6 percent in the nation's "patient-choice" C-section rate represents an increase from 1.9 percent to 2.6 percent of deliveries in the years 2001, 2002 and 2003 for women with no history of C-sections. The study covers deliveries in the 17 states that release this data. When extrapolated to the nation, the study shows that 267,340 "patient-choice" C-sections were performed over those
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Source:HealthGrades


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