Cesarean section in Ontario: practice patterns and responses to hypothetical cases.
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A 40% random sample of Ontario's obstetricians were asked to respond to hypothetical scenarios for previous cesarean section, breech presentation and dystocia, and to describe their practice patterns. Their responses confirmed findings from other studies, which reported differences between physicians' responses to hypothetical cases and their actual practice. In this study, 18% chose a cesarean section for the hypothetical case of a patient who had previously undergone cesarean section and 2% chose a cesarean section for the hypothetical case of breech presentation. However, in practice, the obstetricians reported that they do cesarean section on 71% of their previous section patients and on 57% of their breech patients. Physicians in teaching hospitals were less likely than those in community hospitals to choose cesarean section for a woman who had previously undergone cesarean section both hypothetically and in practice. For breech presentation, no difference was found. The discrepancy between responses to the hypothetical cases and practice patterns could not be attributed to the absence of anesthesia services or to restrictive hospital policies.
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