EFM and conflicts of interest

5504534442_276860d5fa“So the question is why would the BRPOs* of the world ignore obvious evidence of EFM harm, ignore informed consent, ignore the violation of mothers’ bioethical autonomy, and ignore the reality that most of the birth profession is lying daily to mothers and themselves about EFM  dangers and forcing mothers to undergo a medical procedure that has the potential for current and future harm?”

             *(birth-related professional organisations)

Another great article from Tom Sartwelle and colleagues, which offers a fascinating history of the use of electronic fetal monitoring and highlights important conflicts of interest as well as a huge gap between the evidence and what most people believe. You can access the full article here.



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photo credit: koadmunkee labor – fetal monitoring via photopin (license)

3 comments for “EFM and conflicts of interest

  1. Maryann Long
    October 15, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I started to read the article. Noted the first 2 authors were attorneys and I was feeling good about the message of vested interests underlying the widespread adoption of EFM. Got as far as, I think, the 2nd page, where the word ‘antidote’ appears instead of what is clearly meant, ‘anecdote’. It’s all over for me. No attorney worth their salt would fail to see that error.

    • admin
      October 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      This is an ‘early ahead’ version that has not yet been fully edited/proofread, and typos and grammatical errors are pretty common in such versions. The authors may not have been able to request revisions yet.

    • Thomas P. Sartwelle
      October 18, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      Dear Maryann Long
      In reply to your comments:

      You observe that the first two authors are lawyers. We are unsure what you mean to imply by that observation. But you are correct. Sartwelle is a practicing lawyer board certified in medical malpractice law who has defended doctors, nurses, hospitals, and nursing homes in medical malpractice cases for almost 50 years. Dr. Johnston, however, is a practicing neurologist, double board certified in neurology and rehabilitative neurology, who happens to also have achieved the unusual feat of completing law school and passing the Bar Examination long after he started his neurology practice. Dr. Johnston does not practice law and never has. His intellectual curiosity about the medical malpractice system in various parts of the world and how it functions led him to study legal concepts and systems. Dr.Arda, on the other hand, is the Chair of the Medical Ethics Department at the University of Ankara Medical School and is an internationally recognized ethics scholar who has absolutely nothing to do with lawyers beyond her co-authorship on several published and pending medical articles in association with Sartwelle and Dr. Johnston.

      As to the spelling error that apparently incapacitated you from continuing to read the article and from receiving the article’s message how mothers and children are being hurt by EFM use without informed consent, we are well aware of the differences in the meaning and spelling of these words. In the original transcript sent to the editor many months ago, the word is correctly spelled. As you may or may not know, published transcripts undergo changes by many different people in the peer review and editorial processes to which articles are subjected. Somewhere in the last phases of this editorial process, after the authors’ last contact with the transcript, a few printing errors entered into this article, the spelling error being one. You will note several endnotes were not superscripted and a few endnote citation numbers were corrupted. This is an unfortunate but not uncommon aspect of many hands involved in the publishing process.

      We are truly sorry that a misspelling interrupted your absorption of our EFM message. We think the message is important for medicine to hear because EFM is causing present and potential harm that physicians are unwilling to acknowledge and stop. We are also trying along with Sara and others to get this vital message to mothers and other birth caregivers so they can begin to insist on real informed consent and choice in birth. While editing errors will undoubtedly always be a part of publishing, we hope that you and others will overlook those errors and join with us in getting the EFM message to all who will listen.

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