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Physician Sought To Use Police To Force Woman Into Hospital For Birth

March 8, 2013 by  

Physician Sought To Use Police To Force Woman Into Hospital For Birth

After giving birth four times via caesarean delivery, Lisa Epsteen wanted to have her fifth child vaginally. She found someone to help her through her high-risk pregnancy — a respected physician who heads the University of South Florida’s department of obstetrics and gynecology.

She thought he was on her side. That is until she opened an email from Jerry Yankowitz, M.D., her doctor, threatening to have police pick her up and drag her to the hospital for a surgical delivery.

Epsteen was more than a week past her due date. An ultrasound alarmed her doctors, but she wanted to schedule her surgery for Friday. That didn’t sit well with Yankowitz. So he wrote to her:

I am deeply concerned that you are contributing to a very high probability that your fetus will die or your child will incur brain damage if born alive. At this time, you must come in for delivery.

I would hate to move to the most extreme option, which is having law enforcement pick you up at your home and bring you in, but you are leaving the providers of USF/TGH no choice.

Epsteen told the Tampa Bay Times that after receiving that email she panicked. “In a couple of hours there are going to be cops on my doorstep taking me away from home — in front of my children — to force me into having surgery,” she recalled thinking.

She contacted the New York-based National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which contacted Yankowitz demanding he “stop immediately any further threats or actions against Ms. Epsteen.”

“Pregnant women are no different than anybody else in terms of their Constitutional and human rights,” staff attorney Farah Diaz-Tello said. “The threat he was making was both legally and ethically unjustifiable.”

After hearing from NAPW, Yankowitz backed down. A nurse later called Epsteen to say her surgery was scheduled for Friday (today) as she wished.

Although the medical mafia — sometimes aided by the court system — has often overstepped its bounds, Epsteen did not attribute nefarious motives to Yankowitz’s actions.

“In Dr. Yankowitz’s defense, and all of the other physicians there, I don’t think they are trying to cover themselves. I think they really do have the best interests of my child and myself at heart,” she added. “On the other hand, this is not the way to go about protecting my baby or me.”

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • Skippy

    So, …just wondering…… she MARRIED???? Fifth child??? Where’s hubby on all this…

    • Congress Works For Us

      Probably working.

      And good for him!

    • The Professor

      Married or not? What’s the difference? A truly free individual has the right to make personal decisions for themselves without interference from government or anybody else. In the case of a pregnancy many, particularly those on the religious right, will ask, what about the rights of a zygote, fetus, un-born child? Although both have rights. Until the umbilical cord is severed and the newer life becomes a physically independent child, The mothers rights are superior. Once free of the physical connection both mother and child have equal rights.

      • K. Lee

        Unfortunately there was only one doctor that would agree to deliver vaginally. He then projected a problem that could hamper a vaginal delivery. His main concern is both the mother and child. The mother on the other hand is not qualified to make a decision since they are being made due to emotions and desires rather than rational thought. We aren’t getting the full story here, so the only ones that can make a finite stand are the ones involved. I do hope the mother and infant fair well.

      • Nadzieja Batki

        The doctor shouldn’t have agreed to deliver her vaginally because he may have been too optimistic about the delivery. But 4 C Sections should have sent danger bells and he was not hearing the bells, or the woman was demanding vaginal delivery and he was hoping it could be pulled off. The woman was also lacking in common sense, wanting what she wanted when she wanted.

    • Chris

      Most people are quick to sue when things don’t go right. I can’t blame the doctor for trying to eliminate this possibility. She can claim that she was not aware of the risks.

      • Nadzieja Batki

        Unless the woman was deaf and even then she would have been provided with written instruction. Epsteen stopped listening to what was said, all information both good and bad was given her but she disregarded it because she wanted to have things her way. It is never more complicated than that, people want their own way or to do what is right in their own eyes.

  • linda santoro

    It’s disgusting. I had a v-back. Since when have we been judged to be unknowing morons who cannot make educated decisions. People start standing up to people who are only looking to cover their butt at the risk of your life!

    • Skippy

      Ummmm…Linda….and IF something went wrong with her vaginal delivery, and IF the child were somehow impaired………just WHO would be at fault??? The good Dr., or her stupid self??? Just wondering….and what would her insurance have had to say?? The Doc made the right call.

    • wandamurline

      The problem is that she has had four other C-sections and this creates a problem with a vaginal delivery. There were reasons that the first four C-sections were done and it would be unsafe to try a vaginal delivery with four prior C-sections.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      When one has Liberty and Freedom it means that you have the choice of taking the bad outcomes of life as well as the good. Humans aren’t willing to take the bad. So why didn’t you make better choices in your gene pool, better choice of a husband that impregnated you, why didn’t you have the baby at home with your choice of life or death? You involved other people in your pregnancy so you made the choice to give up your Liberty and Freedom for others to make decisions for you.
      The choices for Liberty and Freedom are not made on emotional whims.
      Yours is an emotional outburst from first word to last.

  • wandamurline

    While she is in the hospital, pleeeeeeze make sure she gets a tubaligation, especially if she is on the government teet. Five kids should be enough for anyone.

    • Skippy

      LOL at back at you wanda!!! I have to agree for sure!!!

    • Nadzieja Batki

      The decision to have however many kids is between her and her husband and as long as she doesn’t expect the rest of America to support them, it is their business.
      How did she con a caretaker to work with her, that would be willing to destroy his livilhood or he had “no choice” but to work with her because it was a public hospital? If she had four previous C Sections the probability is that all pregnancies will be C Sections unless she wants to take a chance and die herself and take the baby to death. Where is the woman’s common sense? Where is the husband’s comments in this equation?
      After her first C Section she would have been warned and she would have come to expect that all birth deliveries would be C Sections. Overall she should have made a better choice of the gene pool so she wouldn’t have these problems with childbirth.

    • Bob Livingston

      Dear wandamurline,

      You write: “Five kids should be enough for anyone.” So you support the idea that the government can dictate how many children a family should have as in China’s one-child policy? You are quite the totalitarian.

      Best wishes,

      • Skippy

        Bob, in all fairness………the story does lack ANY information regarding this woman’s lifestyle…other than the fact that she has four other children. IF she/family is supporting them, fine, have 20 if she wants. BUT….if wanda and I are supporting them, well….that’s a different story!! And I feel that was wanda’s point.

      • Joe H

        you are right, there are no facts on her lifestyle so Wanda should not have made the comment she made. The number of children a couple have is THEIR business and no one else! My Grandfather had 17 children as a farmer and was NEVER on the dole. My father had six and was never on the dole either! THINK friend!!!

    • CaveAdsum


  • eddie47d

    If there is a known danger to the health of the baby then the doctor could be right. He was wrong to threaten her by contacting the police though. She should have been given the needed information and if she made the wrong choice then the burden falls on her not the doctor. It could be that the hospital is looking for financial gain and the doctor needs to bring in more “clients”. The way hospitals gouge its hard to tell who’s side they are on. Another thing is that midwifery is always under attack and woman are discouraged in having births on their own. The use of a midwife ( home delivery) should be a personal choice not of the state or hospital system.

  • Chester

    Chris, I do believe the lady was fully aware of the risks, both to her and the child. As it turns out, she had agreed to a c-section delivery, but seems the doctor wanted it a few days earlier than originally scheduled. Granted, there was always the chance that she could have started labor early, but that is a risk with any pregnancy. In this case, the doctor was watching out for three people, her, her child, AND himself.

  • ibcamn

    Figures,this means that doctor has overstepped his boundries before!if the doctor thought he had a right to force(threaten)this mother to be,he has definitly done the same thing before to some poor woman!it’s the mother’s right if she wishes to birth at home!(midwife)with help.but check credentials first and draw up aggrement or contract!

    • Nadzieja Batki

      The doctor didn’t make the bad decision to send in the cops because Epsteen was overdue and if Epsteen lived and the baby died in delivery what would be the outcome? The transaction between the two and the choices they made throughout pregnancy led to this outcome. There are some other outcomes but would Epsteen chose them?

  • http://PersonalLierty ds

    C Sections aren’t just given for the fun of it. That is a serious operation and only used to protect both mother and child. I am sure when Lisa Epsteen first went to see Dr. Yankovitch she explained all of her past problems, or at least I would hope so. I think she was lucky he was willing to try to help her have a safe vaginal delivery but from the sounds of her story, that ended up being way too risky. I am sure there were numerous discussions during the end of her pregnancy that things were not looking good for natural delivery and that he didn’t just out of the blue send an e-mail threatening her to have the police escort her to the hospital. What a selfish woman to put her wishes for a vaginal delivery and the joy that comes with it in plat of her baby’s safety. If she didn’t care about her own life she should have at least cared about that of her unborn child. Why would anyone take even the smallest amount of chance that harm or permanent damage could come to their child for any reason. My son is my world and I would never put him in harms way nor take any type of chance no matter what the reason. And, by the way, Dr. Yankowitz, is one of the most highly respected and thoughfull physicians out there these days.

  • CaveAdsum

    If an OB/GYN physician delivers a baby who is not perfect until the age of twenty-one, he is at risk of unlimited civil liability. That is the reason that many medical groups have designated one or two doctors to deliver all the babies for the practice. Professional liability insurance for doctors must include a “tail,” a supplemental extended reporting period for claims that may be reported even after the doctor has retired. I knew one physician, who, when he left his practice and retired, the tail cost him $200,000.

    I’m in no way condoning the autocratic actions of this guy who seems to be suffering from the “doctor God” complex; but I understand why this happened. Oh, yeah, that and “Do no harm.”

    • Nadzieja Batki

      I don’t see any “doctor God complex” in the doctor.

    • Joe H

      I totally agree with your comment on “do no harm”!!! had a Dr convince me that I had to have a fusion of my lumbar region. I asked him if the fusion would limit my range of movement any and he said no. After the surgery, I went about life in a normal way. I now have two bulging discs above the fusion and one below the fusion. Another Dr. told me later that had I taken it easy on my lifting and twisting I wouldn’t have the buldging discs now! do no harm my AZZ!!!

  • carolinerh

    Face the truth, doctor, you just wanted to make more money. If she does the natural human birth, you don’t. I would suggest you drop the title of doctor, get out of the “doctor” racket, and get a job in the real world. As a healthcare provider, you sicken me and so many others. Retire now to save yourself more embarrassment and I hope you lose ALL hospital privileges. You deserve to sued NOW!

  • Elevenarrows

    Wow! I’m shocked at the arrogance of some of those commenting! As a mother of eleven children–some of which were delivered at home by my husband (yes, legal in my state), I read much ignorance in many people’s comments. Believe it or not, safe vaginal births CAN occur after C-sections. And, NO, C-sections are not always performed for noble reasons. Yes, insurance companies have changed the nature of birth in America. I, personally, know fantastic family doctors who had to stop delivering babies due to the ridiculous increase in insurance costs. These are doctors who never had a single claim against them while delivering babies.

    In my experience, many doctors really don’t know what to do with an educated “client” (pregnant women are not sick and therefore really don’t need to be called “patients”). Thankfully, I have had the rare privilege of an open-minded OB who isn’t threatened by someone who makes her own choices. He can rest easy knowing my husband and I have spent years researching and learning what we need to know to handle even scary complications at home. Let’s not forget, people, that throughout most of human history that is exactly where babies were born. Let’s also not have blinders on and think somehow that the American methods are superior…many countries/cultures promote home births over hospital births because they know the results. And, lest you try to quote statistics from drinking the Kool Aid, America has worst numbers for both infant and maternal survival than some THIRD WORLD countries! Of course, you won’t hear about THAT from MSM!!!

    As for those shallow-minded, arrogant people who actually suggest the woman in question base the size of her family on THEIR recommendations, I find that unbelievable! Yes, my husband and I have eleven kids. No, we have NEVER relied on ANY help from family, friends, or fellow tax-payers. Our children are expected to be Constitution-defending, productive contributors to society. Thankfully, the ones that have left our nest have done exactly that. You tread on dangerous ground when you think you have the wisdom to limit others natural rights. Were that premise to play out in society, at large, I daresay you would find your own rights being limited in disturbing ways. It is such arrogance that leads to some of the mentalities we see in Washington these days.

    In conclusion, birth is a natural event that has been tampered with almost to the point of ruin in this country. Most women (and the fathers of their babies) are led like sheep to the slaughter. Very few attempt to educate themselves on the birth process. Even fewer seek information outside the walls of their doctors’ offices—a place where you will almost always find one very limited view of birth. In my experience, I have found very few women willing to go against what they perceive as the “norm”. The sad thing is that if most of them were educated on the birth process and what it SHOULD look and feel like, they would run screaming from the American model.

    Lest you argue that my babies probably just “pop out” by now (yes, I hear that one a lot!), since my 6th birth, it has taken about three days of active, hard labor to birth my children. No small feat, I assure you. I am no Super Woman. Many, many women could have the same experiences if they were GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY.

    Yes, the woman in the article has increased risks due to previous C-sections. However, if the integrity of her womb is still in tact, if the previous C-sections were done for reasons that don’t necessarily warrant another surgery (shoulder dystocia, for example, doesn’t always occur and subsequent babies may not suffer from poor positioning other babies may have had. etc.), if she and her husband have done their homework and understand the inherent risks and are WILLING TO ACCEPT responsibility for those risks, there is no reason she could not pursue vaginal birth. I know a woman who was told repeatedly by her doctors that she could absolutely NOT have more children since she had reached the prescribed limit of four C-sections. That woman now has 9 healthy children—all by C-sections.

    Don’t place limits on others when you speak out of a lack of education or ignorance of the whole story. I am NOT saying this woman did not need a C-section, but I am willing to say, she had the facts and we do not. As for the scheduling of it, unfortunately, many times these things are scheduled based on nothing more than golf schedules!

    • Concerned

      Thank you for informing the silly people out there that wrongly beieve that doctors know what they are doing concerning childbirth. Also for calling out people who can tell us what size limits to put on our families. You said it all so well. I have four children and have had homebirths also. Thank you again.

      • Elevenarrows

        While I don’t think this particular woman was hoping for a home birth, I mentioned home birth due to comments of others on the forum and because I had first hand experience. I find much of the “reasoning” going on in the comments to be disturbing and dangerous. One might consider it quite a leap to mention the Holocaust in this context, but I’ve been reading much on the topic of late and I was amazed at seeing so many of the same, dangerous views that brought such ruin to so many people in so many countries expressed by those people tearing apart a woman they don’t know based on THEIR opinion of how many children she should have. They were so willing to assume that she was also living on government support, may have been promiscuous, etc.

        Those mentalities brought about the Holocaust, the one child only policy in China, the present usurpation of American liberty and many other tragedies in human history. Educated, Constitution-loving people will mark these dangers and react to them.

        I’ve done my small part today and I hope others will call out bigotry and unconstitutional thinking where and when they see it.

        And as for John (11:09 am), you are assuming facts you don’t have. You are assuming dangers that may or may not have existed in this case. Any woman who has had multiple births can attest to the fact that doctors often use scare tactics and drama to urge a woman to schedule when the doctor finds it convenient! Some (certainly not all) doctors care little about how ready the baby is to be born when they need to go on vacation, hit the links, attend a party, etc. If you think these things do not influence scheduling of C-sections, you are very, very naive…although, I think, well-intentioned.

    • Blessed5x

      Amen!! Thank you for speaking out and setting the record straight. Few Women get the truth regarding childbirth these days. I highly recommend a book called “Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care” It will truly open your eyes.

  • John

    Everyone is so concerned about the Rights of the Mother. What about the Rights of the Child!
    The Doctor was not trying to Save the Child at the Expense of the Mother. He was trying to use His Skills to Keep Both of them Healthy under dangerous circumstances!
    The Mother may be an adult but, Her attitude is Juvenile. It is morally wrong to risk the Health and perhaps even Life of your Child for such a frivolous reason.

    • Jr.

      Who are you to argue against the natural way of things? Medicine is a modern CONVENIENCE just like a TOASTER. There is nothing wrong with HER choice. Honestly I do not blame her for not wanting to be further disfigured. Understandably after that many c-sections her chances of a successful delivery are not very high and that may rub you wrong but that is YOU not her. Personally I would try to dissuade my wife from trying a natural birth given a situation like that but then again I would be the father and husband so I would have the right to question her decision.


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