MSF Dilemma # 4: Acting Beyond Competence

This is the fourth of the dilemmas considered here.

Our doctor has previously assisted in caesarean sections but has never taken sole responsibility for one. The doctor who is responsible for surgery is on holiday and transport to the next surgical facility takes 7 h, which is too long for this mother who is clearly in obstructed labour. The doctor is confronted with doing something that she has never done before. She knows that she could do a lot of harm by doing the operation badly, but doing nothing guarantees that the baby will not survive and may result in dangerous complications for the mother. The staff are waiting for her plan of action. What should she do?

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