By now everyone knows that Beyonce and Jay-Z welcomed their baby Blue Ivy to the world last Saturday, January 7. Aside from the name (it’s like they read Awesomely Luvvie but didn’t get the point), questions about who actually gestated the baby, and a bunch of other weird stuff, there are a lot of concerns about what happened at Lenox Hill Hospital that day.
For those of you who don’t live in NYC or know anything about hospitals there, LHH has for years been the place celebrities and women with high-risk pregnancies go to have their babies. At the time I was giving birth (7-10 years ago), LHH had a c-section rate of over 40%.
In other words, LHH has the reputation of being a boutique hospital for people who need or want a lot of interventions and are willing to pay for it or have great insurance. I don’t know if this is deserved or not deserved–I don’t know what their actual demographics are. This is just the way it’s perceived by the average parent on the playground in NYC.
So no one was surprised that the Knowles-Carters a) went to LHH over other hospitals in the NYC area, or b) had a private birthing suite. (Rumors about their spending a million dollars to have an entire floor to themselves notwithstanding.) It also doesn’t surprise me that they brought their own security. And that people visiting the hospital wanted to catch a glimpse of the baby and were denied by the private security and got mad about that.
What is surprising and concerns me is the claim by parents with babies in the NICU that they were prevented from seeing their children during the time the Knowles-Carters were at Lenox Hill. Most vocal about this are Rozz and Neil Nash-Coloun, who had twin daughters in the NICU. Here’s the NY Times story about the Nash-Coloun’s claim. LHH has counter-claimed (in the hilariously-titled press release “Lenox Hill Hospital Clears the Record on Beyonce Birth” which just, well, let’s just say “Mission Accomplished“) that it didn’t happen and no patients have come to them about being barred from seeing their children.
Here’s a hint, Lenox Hill: The parents haven’t talked to you about it yet because they are going to sue you back into the Stone Age. Or at least downtown. I don’t blame them.
Can you IMAGINE going to see your baby–your child–in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and being told that you were not allowed to, and that all security cameras on the floor of the hospital were being turned off or covered?
Note: I’m not blaming Beyonce and Jay-Z for this, as they were doing what they thought was best for their child, even though it was in complete disregard for other people. (See also: “Why rich and powerful people make seriously questionable decisions,” which may be the topic of my PhD dissertation, from a business ethics, leadership, and corporate governance angle.) I land this squarely in the lap of Lenox Hill Hospital. They have enough celebrities having babies there that this has to be something they’ve dealt with before. Balancing desires for privacy with the right to see your child seems like it would be a common issue for the hospital, and one that they’d done many times.
So why didn’t they have a plan that allowed for separation so the Knowles-Carter baby could be isolated but other patients could still have the access to their children that they were legally entitled to? Or maybe even, you know, tell the Knowles-Carters they couldn’t comply with their security requests, even if it meant that they had the baby someplace else?
If it had been me that was barred from seeing my child, Lenox Hill would have been acutely aware of the pending lawsuit. I can’t decide if I’d have gone full-on Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on them, or let it play out more slowly Ý la Keyser Söze. Would I bust my kid out of the NICU like the lady in “Not Without My Daughter”*? Would I simply get the police to come and arrest the head of security at LHH for kidnapping, or would I leave a horse’s head in the bed of the head of the hospital**? Or would I open a competing hospital nearby and put them out of business***? The possibilities are really endless, but the moral of the story is twofold:
1. Don’t get between a mother bear and her cub, and
2. If you go someplace that privileges money, you are only assured of your rights if you’re the one with the most money.
I really didn’t care much about this whole pregnancy and birth thing until I heard about the mess LHH got itself into. Now I’m super-curious to see how it plays out. Any thoughts?
* Not recommended, as I’d probably have to bust out one of the nurses with my kid, too. And maybe some of the machines.
** I would not actually harm a horse.
*** Release the hounds, Smithers.