A Bowlful of Cherries

Celebrating Matty and Noah

Terrifying labor

I came across the following:

When I was in medical school, the ward patients in labor received little or no pain relief, while the private patients were given scopolamine, a drug that wiped out the memory of the labor and birth. Many women loved it and would say, “My doctor was wonderful. He gave me a shot to put me out as soon as I came to the hospital. I never felt a thing.” Those women weren’t put out, but they didn’t remember what had happened to them–at least not consciously. When these women thought they were “out” they were awake and screaming. Made crazy from the drug, they fought; they growled like animals. They had to be restrained, tied by hands and feet to the corners of the bed (with straps padded with lamb’s wool so there would be no injury, no telltale marks), or they would run screaming down the halls. Screaming obscenities, they bit, they wept, behaving in ways that would have produced shame and humiliation had they been aware. Doctors and nurses, looking at such behavior induced by the drug they had administered, felt justified in treating the women as crazy wild animals to be tied, ordered, slapped, yelled at, gagged.

Yikes. It used to be used as a truth drug, but is now primarily an anti-motion sickness agent (through a transdermal patch). Here’s a bit more on the drug:

When combined with morphine, the effect produced is a tranquilized state known as twilight sleep; this combination of drugs was formerly used in obstetrics but is now considered too dangerous.


Written by Michael

06 Apr 2004 at 906am

Posted in Misc.

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