Data Recovery Procedure In New York

FLUSHING, QUEENS — A Flushing hospital had the highest rate of episiotomies among more than 500 U.S. hospitals included in a new report on the procedure, a surgical cut made to the vagina during childbirth that experts say does more harm than good.

At NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, nearly 40 percent of women who delivered vaginally from 2014 to 2017 received episiotomies, USA TODAY found in a national analysis of hospital billing data.

The Flushing hospital's episiotomy rate was the highest among the 553 U.S. hospitals that USA TODAY studied. It is nearly eight times the recommended rate of five percent, a standard set by nonprofit hospital safety group Leapfrog.

"NewYork-Presbyterian is deeply committed to reducing obstetric maternal mortality and morbidity," the hospital said in a written statement to USA TODAY.

Episiotomies speed up the delivery process by creating more room as a baby's head appears, according to USA TODAY, but mothers who get the procedure are likelier to suffer severe complications.

Complications include severe, painful tears that require surgery to repair. Women may also experience infections and pain during sex.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2006 recommended the procedure be used sparingly, writing, "Current data and clinical opinion suggest that there are insufficient objective evidence-based criteria to recommend episiotomy."

"I cannot imagine what on earth is going on with a hospital that has a 20-30 percent episiotomy rate," Dr. Steven Clark, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine, told USA TODAY. "There's not an excuse for a rate anywhere close to that."

Read the full investigation in USA TODAY.

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