One problem with all the uproar about "Pit to distress" is that the term means a few different things. Some nurse bloggers have seen physicians Pit to distress deliberately, others carelessly. Others claim that no physician would ever intentionally push Pit aggressively enough to force or even accidentally trigger a cesarean section. The optimist in me would hope that no nurse or physician would ever use Pitocin so aggressively that it would provoke a cesarean, intentionally or not. But I've been listening to women's stories long enough to be more of a realist than an optimist.
N is for Nurse's post was the initial trigger for the whole conversation. She refused to keep upping the Pit on a woman who was already in trouble:
...possibly abrupting, had a strip with recurrent lates and minimal variability and I was supposedly "pitting to distress." BTW, I don't pit to distress when our anesthesia team is not on the floor and is instead down on their third gunshot wound in the trauma bay of our ED. So there. I don't care how much the docs bully me--they wanted to force a crash c-section. Nope. Not on my watch, with a woman I believe was abrupting. Scary. They had originally called the section, then backed out--then we lost anesthesia to the ED, so they wrote pit orders on a woman who was already hyperstimming by herself, bleeding and baby looked like crap. I was really hating my job that night--fighting three residents is loads of fun.So, I hung the pit at 2 units and didn't touch it for 2 hours. I also watched mom like a hawk and made my general displeasure known (and charted it all of course) to my charge who agreed with me and the attending who didn't want to "cut" this woman in the 1st place. Dude, she needed a c-section, just NOT a crash section.Rebirth's Take on "Pit to Distress" is that it doesn't happen, at least "never in a way to purposely gain a reason for performing a c-section. It was done more because the thinking was 'more equals better and gets the job done quicker' and then all of a sudden trouble began."
In No Doctor, Reality Rounds discusses how nurses juggle their own professional obligations against their physicians' orders:
A nurse is ethically, morally and professionally obligated to advocate for her patients. We are not subordinate to physicians. We are our own profession, governed by other nurses. We are to assist physicians and carry out their orders in regards to the overall plan of care for the patient. We need to work as a team for the health and safety of the patient. A nurse CAN refuse to carry out a physician order. A prudent nurse should refuse any order she feels would cause harm to the patient (like "pit to distress"), or was a procedure not legally consented for ("No I won’t assist with the circumcision until the paper is signed. Don’t care that you just talked to the parents"), or one that she is just plain uncomfortable with ("No I will not hand you any surgical instruments until we do a “Time Out” to make sure we are amputating the correct leg").Morag of Mama Mid(wife) Madness, on the other hand, is a pessimist in regards to "Pit to distress":
I've spent a little time researching this "Pit to Distress" and have found, justly, that L&D nurses don't like it a helluva lot. I wouldn't either if I was the one being told to administer the doses when the only desired consequence (that I can see) is to stress a baby and clear the bed, probably due to a thoroughly iatrogenic "emergency" cesarean for fetal distress. This also handily would allow OB residents to rack up another surgery before the end of a shift. I fervently hoped that this protocol is NEVER used on VBAC women. Sadly, many of the tales on nursing message boards discussing "pit to distress" were of VBAC mamas whose labors were augmented this way simply to ensure that their TOLAC (trials of labor after cesarean) failed, and quickly. What's the bet the women had NO idea that their labors were being forced to a frightening conclusion.