Australian Medical Association’s misleading spin on homebirth deaths exposed by @hoydenabouttown blog

The Hoyden About Town blog has criticised the Australian Medical Association’s presentation of a study on deaths during homebirth in South Australia published in its own medical journal. The blog explains that the AMA is making sensationalist statements of increased risk of death, without explaining the context of the figures.

The abstract, or summary, of the study says that the risk of a child dying in homebirth is seven times higher than that of a child born in a hospital. The abstract also says that there is a 27-times higher risk of a baby born at home dying from not getting enough oxygen. However, as the Hoyden About Town blog points out, the seven-times-higher figure is based on only nine deaths in over a thousand planned homebirths over fifteen years. The study’s own discussion section says “there were only three…deaths for which one can reasonably assume that a different choice …might have made a difference to the outcome”. The study also says because the numbers involved are small, interpretation of the data is limited.

A media release from the Australian Medical Association repeats the claim that the risk of a baby dying in homebirth goes up by by seven times, without mentioning that this is based on a total of nine deaths, only three of which may possibly have been avoided. The AMA’s figures have been published without challenge by media outlets including the ABC the Courier-Mail, and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Zedlines

2 responses to “Australian Medical Association’s misleading spin on homebirth deaths exposed by @hoydenabouttown blog

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Australian Medical Association’s misleading spin on homebirth deaths exposed by @hoydenabouttown blog « 4ZzZFM NEWS -- Topsy.com

  2. muchfree

    Thx for bringing this up Zed!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s