An obstetric fistula is a catastrophic childbirth injury resulting from prolonged obstructed labor that is common among poor women in impoverished countries around the world. When labor is obstructed, the fetus cannot pass through the pelvis, in spite of adequate contractions. This process may last for several days unless it is relieved by cesarean section. If prompt intervention does not occur, a crush injury to the soft tissues of the pelvis may develop, leading to a breakdown of the vesico-vaginal (and/or recto-vaginal) septum, with continuous urinary incontinence. These injuries do not heal on their own. They require surgery to be repaired. This talk describes the pathophysiology of these injuries, the social context in which they occur, and the clinical, ethical, and human rights challenges they present in the 21st Century. Learner Outcome:
Understand the multifaceted nature of childbirth trauma, particularly in low-resource countries
Washington University in St. Louis
Credits: None available.
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