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Woman Sues Staten Island University Hospital Over Alleged Forced C-Section

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A young mother of three is suing Staten Island University Hospital, claiming she was given a cesarean section against her will.

As CBS 2’s Dr. Holly Phillips reported, 35-year-old Rinat Dray’s first two sons were delivered by cesarean section, which involved difficult recoveries.

She said she was determined to deliver her third son, Yosef, naturally through a procedure called vaginal birth after cesarean or VBAC.

It carries risk, but can be performed successfully, Phillips reported.

After several hours of labor, however, Dray’s doctor pushed back.

“He said, ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re making good progress. I don’t think it’s going to be natural. I don’t have all day for you,'” Dray said.

Dray told Phillips she felt her doctor was being impatient as he continued to pressure her to have a C-section right away, warning her that her uterus would rupture and her baby was at risk.

“They pushed me into the operation. I was begging all the way, ‘don’t do it, I feel my baby, everything is fine. Don’t do it!'” Dray said. “His answer was just, ‘don’t speak.'”

Dray said ultimately she never gave consent to the C-section.

“No, I never did,” she said.

Dray is suing the hospital and doctors, claiming negligence, malpractice and lack of informed consent.

Dray’s attorney, Michael Bast, showed CBS 2’s Phillips the doctor’s handwritten note from Dray’s medical file, spelling out his concerns.

“The fetus is at risk for serious harm without the C-section,” one part said. And for the mother, “benefits outweigh risk,” another part of the note said.

Senior hospital staff also signed off on the C-section.

Dray’s attorney said the smoking gun for her case is also in the notes.

“I have decided to override her refusal to have a C-section,” the doctor’s note said.

“The mother has the right. It is ethically wrong. It is medically wrong. It is always wrong to take a knife and stick it into a woman when she says no,” said Bast.

Staten Island University Hospital said it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but “supports a woman’s decision to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).”

Art Caplan, a bioethicist at NYU Langone Medical Center, said “The doctor can cajole, persuade, argue, do everything in their power to get the woman to change her mind, but they should not ever do a procedure, even with the fetus in trouble, against the will of the mother.”

Dray said she would like to grow her family of three boys, but she added that giving birth now scares her.

“It was very painful to be treated this way,” she said.

Dray, who is suing for undisclosed damages, said her bladder was also injured during the procedure.

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