Another Careless Promotion of C-Sections

No matter how hard medical experts and other promoters of good, safe health care try, it seems, there are always loud voices chiming in from the fringes of ignorance to offset their message.

A few weeks ago, in a blog about obstetricians recommending that women not be rushed into induced labor and also calling for fewer cesarean sections, we revisited the dangers of unnecessary C-sections, and noted that nearly 1 in 3 U.S. women give birth via C-section.

But when Dan Murphy, second baseman for the New York Mets, missed the first two days of the Major League Baseball season, he was berated, belittled and bullied by Mike Francesca and Boomer Esiason, two hosts on New York’s WFAN sports radio. Bad enough that these mic jocks called out Murphy because they believe it’s a higher priority to play a game than it is to attend the birth of your child and support its mother, but, worse, they promoted the idea of planning that birth – by cesarean – for the convenience of your schedule, not the baby’s.

As recounted on, among other news sites,, Francesca mocked MLB players’ collective bargaining agreement giving them three games off for paternity leave, calling it a “scam” and a “gimmick.”

“One day I understand,” Francesca said. “And in the old days they didn’t do that. But one day, go see the baby be born and come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help. … What are you going to do? I mean you are going to sit there and look at your wife in a hospital bed for two days? Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple of days; you know that you’re not doing much the first couple days with the baby that was just born.”

His colleague Esiason piled on the mindlessness, saying Murphy should have insisted his wife “have a C-section before the season starts. I need to be at Opening Day, I’m sorry.”

Sigh. If this was intended as a joke, it fell a bit flat.

Wiser minds have tried for years to prevent unnecessary C-sections, which often are performed purely for reasons of convenience. As we’ve noted in our C-section backgrounder, the risks include:

  • injury to the mother’s ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), bowels or other pelvic organs;
  • a higher likelihood of uterine rupture in future pregnancies.

There are also risks to the baby, including:

  • breathing problems;
  • heart disorders;
  • anemia;
  • bleeding in the brain.

It’s disheartening when people blessed with a bully pulpit use it for misguided and dangerous purposes. But it’s also uplifting when others stands up. According to the Daily News story, Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson, said, “The paternity-leave policy was introduced not just for the players’ benefit, but recognition by clubs in contemporary times that this is an appropriate time for parents to be together. So I’ve got absolutely no problem whatsoever with Murph being away. I think the delivery was a little earlier than expected, but those things you don’t control.”

And Murphy apparently told ESPN that he can handle the negative blowback from the Neanderthals among us. He’s fine with his decision, and his priorities. And no one should criticize his work ethic – he missed only one game during the entire season last year.

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