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Wednesday
Jun302010

Whoops! Newscore, BBC News and Fox News Forgot to Fact-check

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By Jill—Unnecesarean

Newscore.com has allowed some sloppy journalism to slip through without any fact checking. The story was picked up by the BBC News, where health reporter Philippa Roxby wrote the article, “Should there be a limit on Caesareans?” FoxNews.com also ran the Newscore item titled, “Pressure Off to Reduce Number of Cesarean Births.”

Neither web site is accepting comments on articles, but this is my feedback.

 

 

How about some fact checking?

Page 5 of the WHO’s Monitoring emergency obstetric care: a handbook to which you refer clearly states: “The estimated proportion of births by caesarean section in the population is not less than 5% or more than 15%.”

The discussion on this, which you have partially cited, elaborates:

Although WHO has recommended since 1985 that the rate not exceed 10–15% (125), thereis no empirical evidence for an optimum percentage or range of percentages, despite a growing body of research that shows a negative effect of high rates (126-128). It should be noted that the proposed upper limit of 15% is not a target to be achieved but rather a threshold not to be exceeded. Nevertheless, the rates in most developed countries and in many urban areas of lesser-developed countries are above that threshold. Ultimately, what matters most is that all women who need caesarean sections actually receive them.

So the WHO still recommends, in their words, that “the proposed upper limit of 15% is not a target to be achieved but rather a threshold not to be exceeded.”

This was discussed in detail last year on the Science and Sensibility blog by Henci Goer.

If those quoted disagree with the WHO’s recommendation or take issue with their research, they should consider addressing it through proper channels instead of fabricating things in press releases. Please consider publishing a retraction or correction.

 

If any readers of The Unnecesarean are up for sending this to Newscore, the BBC News and FoxNews.com, please feel free. Newscore.com’s banner displays the following logos, so the story will probably pop up elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (28)

That's infuriating! How irresponsible to release misinformation that can potentially damage women's health.

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKK

Webform to submit a complaint to the BBC site:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ifs/hi/newsid_4000000/newsid_4000500/4000545.stm

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfoxy.kate

For fun, you can call Fox News at 1-888-369-4762

or email them at yourcomments@foxnews.com

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfoxy.kate

It's not that hard to get through to a voicebox to leave a message for FOX.

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfoxy.kate

Thank you - this is exactly what I said when I saw people reposting the article. That handbook specifically says "a threshold not to be exceeded." That does NOT mean "Yay! Elective cesareans for every woman are totally fine!" as that article would have us believe.

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTheFeministBreeder

Hey, Jill - The data on page five has a footnote asking you to go to page 25 of the publication for further explanation. The FOX news piece used HALF of one sentence, leaving out what is probably the more important half! ALL THE WORDS COUNT! What I sent is below:

************

Hello!

I just left a voicemail on your watcher/listener/reader hotline but wanted to follow up with an email.

There is information in your piece entitled "Pressure off to Reduce Number of Cesarean Births"
located here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,595468,00.html dated June 29th 2010
that is inaccurate and dangerous.

The article included a half of a sentence found on page 25 of the WHO document referenced.
The entire sentence reads as follows:

"Although WHO has recommended since 1985 that the rate not exceed 10–15% (125), there is no empirical evidence for an optimum percentage or range of percentages, despite a growing body of
research that shows a negative effect of high rates (126-128)."

It goes on to say: It should be noted that the proposed upper limit of 15% is not a target to be achieved but rather a threshold not to be exceeded. Nevertheless, the rates in most developed countries and in many urban areas of lesser-developed countries are above that thresh- old. Ultimately, what matters most is that all women who need caesarean sections actually receive them."

With many regions of the United States hovering around the 30% range of c-sections from all births - some even touching 40% and above - it is dangerous to publish material such as this that indicates that what is actually major surgery is not more than a routine procedure.

Additionally, evidence shows that cesarean delivery (along with early inductions) could be a contributor in newborn and maternal complications and even death, along with a major factor in the difficulty of establishing and maintaining breastfeeding relationships.

As a childbirth educator, breastfeeding counselor, and mother of four children - three of whom are girls, I ask that you publish a retraction immediately. There is so much out there that can be written in favor of the promotion of healthy birth practices that benefit both mom and baby, without putting anyone at unnecessary risk.

Thanks for your time,

Foxy.Kate

****************

Can you tell my mom took the baby and the older kids are at camp? Look at me with all this time on my hands!! Wheeeeee!

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfoxy.kate

Terrific, foxy.kate!!

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKK

Nice, foxy.kate! Way to use your actual free time today.

If people take issue with the research or don't think it's realistic, there are legitimate ways to critique it that don't involve being disingenous. I think a lot of people would be interested in reading some real criticism. There seems to be a gap in logic in the argument that lowering the cesarean rate will result in forcing women to give birth vaginally against their will and denying them necessary cesareans. How about working on swinging the pendulum back by reducing unnecessary and unwanted cesareans? That was part of the WHO's handbook: "Ultimately, what matters most is that all women who need caesarean sections actually receive them."

June 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterJill

Anyone have any thoughts about the electivecaesarean.com site featured in the BBC article?

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErinn Streeter

I'm new to all of this. Could someone summarize for me which are the necessary C-Sections and which are the unnecessary ones. Thanks.

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRita
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