Less Babies are Dying in South Dakota and We Celebrate

Congratulations to the state of South Dakota for improving their infant mortality rates which is an outstanding accomplishment. South Dakota holds a special place in my heart because it was where I performed my last Cesarean Section on a Native American reservation called Pine Ridge.

I have always respected Native American culture because of their profound respect for Mother Earth.


That last delivery in South Dakota was memorable for numerous reasons. The mother had 9 previous vaginal deliveries and wasn’t convinced that she needed a C. Section, however the baby was in the “sunny side up” position also known as occiput posterior with the chin as the presenting part. She had pushed for hours with a midwife and was not making progress when I was called for assistance. The baby was born healthy and the mother cried tears of joy.

On that same day, I received another request to perform a C. Section because the mother was not making progress. In this case, I felt a C. Section was not necessary. When the mother pushed, the baby’s head would come down temporarily but then go back up higher into the birth canal. Ironically, the patient’s father was outside her room playing a harmonica and each time he played, the baby would descend lower. I asked the grandfather to play continuously and the baby continued his journey down the birth canal and was delivered vaginally.

Both of those babies are now 23 years old and it’s nice to know their home state is doing a better job saving lives. One of the challenges in South Dakota was limited transportation for Native American women living on reservations as well as limited healthcare providers. Hopefully, both of those conditions have changed.

Congratulations for a job well done, South Dakota and this author hopes to help you improve your rates even further with telemedicine in the near future.

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