While a YouTube tutorial video may come in handy to learn how to bake a cake or make a bedside lamp, can you trust it with childbirth? A couple from Tamil Nadu did just that, resulting in the death of the mother. According to a report in The New Minute, a 28-year-old woman died from pregnancy-related complications after she and her partner allegedly attempted to deliver the child at their residence. The police investigation revealed that the family did not believe in modern medicine. When the woman went into labour, she wasn’t rushed to the hospital for delivery. Her placenta reportedly did not come out during the delivery and she bled to death.

As someone associated with the medical profession, albeit peripherally, I cannot get over the fact how casually medical care is taken in our country. This woman has left behind a three-year-old daughter. Her husband is being investigated for his role in the mishap. All because the couple had more trust in online tutorials than in trained professionals.

Medical treatment is not some DIY school project. It can be a matter of life and death.

The internet is full of DIY medical care videos of home births, tooth extraction, self-suturing of wounds, etc. To someone with no medical education, these methods look doable and harmless.

For many people, childbirth is just as mundane as dealing with a cut from a kitchen knife. Why does one need to go to the hospital and foot an extravagant bill for such a trivial issue?

GROUND REALITY

  • A woman from Tamil Nadu lost her life during a home delivery, which the couple was attempting on their own.
  • The couple had no faith in modern medicine, hence they turned to home birth tutorial videos.
  • Medical procedures are best left to trained people. As self-treatment can lead to grievous consequences.
  • It is hazardous to think that you and your smartphone can handle childbirth better than trained doctors.

It is this trivialisation of medical issues like childbirth, just to save some money or due to mistrust stemming from a generalised negative image of the medical profession in India, that many people opt for alternative treatments or solutions. In this case, it was “How to help pregnant women” videos.

What people forget is that doctors spend a minimum of a five-and-a-half year in medical school to train in their profession. It takes rigorous internships, post-graduation courses for doctors to master childbirth. They are trained to manage fatal complications like Pre-eclampsia, haemorrhage, Obstetric fistula, etc. They work out of hospitals which have the equipment to diagnose and treat such complications. Even after a successful delivery, it is necessary to take precautions to maintain hygiene, else it could lead to postpartum sepsis. The above-stated complications are some of the major reasons why women die during childbirth. How can people think they are prepared to counter them, solely with the help of some online tutorials?

Yes, the Indian medical profession isn’t all white. It is hard to trust doctors and hospitals more than ever before, especially with them being painted devils on every possible occasion.

Using online videos for medical care is much more dangerous and can incur grievous consequences.

Also, this is not an argument between home birth and hospital birth. This is about thinking that you and your smartphone are more qualified to handle medical situations than professionals. Even people who opt for home birth must take help from a trained nurse or a midwife. The expecting mother must undergo medical check up on a regular basis. Leaving it to some online video to guide you through such a complex process, where not one but two lives are at stake is nothing but irresponsible.

It is unfortunate how this couple had to learn the consequences of taking medical procedures in their untrained hands. Hopefully, their story will serve as a lesson for others. You have to draw the line on DIY somewhere. You definitely cannot “do” delivery “yourself”. If it were that easy, medicos would have burned their textbooks and launched into practice armed with knowledge from online videos.

Pic Credit: dailymail

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own.

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