Jill at Unnecesarean has published the 2008 California cesarean rates on her blog. I scrolled down to see how the hospital where I was born did (35.1%, above both the national and state averages). I then idly scrolled to the top to see which hospital was the #1 worst in the state... and found that it was my hometown hospital, Corona Regional Medical Center, with a cesarean rate of 70.5%. That's right, ladies and gentlemen.... 70.5%. Women escaping without a cesarean are in the fringe minority. Oh, my goodness. This is seriously just a few miles away from where I grew up. If I hadn't moved away I might just have birthed there.
Let's imagine for a moment:
"Hey, did you hear? There's a possible vaginal birth going on in Room D."
"Vaginal birth. You know, where the baby comes out normally instead of through an incision?"
"Heavens! We can't allow that! People, let's get a move on! If we don't act fast to get this woman to the OR, she's going to birth before we can cut!"
Well, to be honest, my mother has been to that hospital and has said she would prefer not to be treated there.... these numbers just confirm that. I'm really sad about this.
I wondered if Corona Regional might be a high-risk hospital, which usually results in a higher cesarean rate (though the 70.1% rate would be unacceptable even for the highest of high-risk hospitals), but upon perusing their obstetrics webpage, I could find no indication of this. So I decided to write to them instead. Here's what I wrote (I'll report in if I hear back):
Dear Corona Regional,
In perusing the 2008 Cesarean rate statistics, I notice that Corona Regional had the highest cesarean rate in the state of California (70.1% of births were via cesarean, as opposed to the state average of approximately 32%). Can you offer any reasons why your hospital average is more than twice the state average? Additionally, what is being done to lower your cesarean rate?