Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH)’s policy has allowed medical personnel to override pregnant patients’ wishes and perform unconsented medical procedures “in the interest of the fetus.” Forced interventions on patients violates New York State law, numerous rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, and international human rights principles. There is no exception to this principle for people who are pregnant.
In 2011, Rinat Dray carefully chose SIUH because her doctors and the hospital led her to believe that they would respect her medical decisions and support her desire to have a vaginal birth after cesareans (VBAC). Instead, Ms. Dray was forced to undergo cesarean surgery against her will and without a court order.
In her medical record, her doctor wrote,“I have decided to override her refusal to have a C-section.” In addition to forcing her to undergo major surgery requiring a long recovery, her doctors also lacerated her bladder. Ms. Dray still suffers from the consequences of the surgery and the trauma of experiencing obstetric violence.
In response to Ms. Dray's lawsuit and other efforts to receive justice, the hospital’s representatives have vigorously defended its policies that violate medical ethics and contradict the opinions of leading medical organizations including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.