Saturday, March 19, 2011

OB Triage and Superstition

A woman at 33 weeks gestation came into the OB triage after it was noted that her amniotic fluid was low. She was told she may need to be induced, and that she would be staying in the hospital. 33 weeks is four weeks shy of 37 weeks, when the baby is full term, and the baby's lungs may not be fully developed at that time.

“I usually wear a green ring, that is dear to me” she lamented, “But this morning I changed rings. I can’t help but think that caused this to happen. I know it’s silly. I’m superstitious. If my husband heard me say this, he would say, ‘Don’t be dumb.’”

I knew exactly what she meant. Superstitions provide comfort to us, giving us a sense of control and reason. An arbitrary cause of a bad event means it could have been prevented. The realization that random luck plays such a prominent role in our lives is quite distressing, while pinpointing a cause can sometimes be satisfying. And we all have people in our lives who dismiss this whole occurrence by saying, “Don’t be dumb.” They mean well too, it takes blame off us, by not making us responsible through superstition.

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