Operation Live: Cesarean section

On October 30, 2013 at 10:32 PM, baby girl Billy was born by natural caesarean section in front of 1.3 million viewers. As the fourth in the series of live operations broadcast, broadcaster MAX this time brought attention to the caesarean section in the live program ‘Operation Live’. During the broadcast, which was led by Charles Groenhuijsen, extensive information was provided about the caesarean section. The operation was performed at the Vlietland Hospital in Schiedam by gynecologist Annemarie Huijssoon.

Operation Live

In November 2010, broadcasting director Jan Slagter of broadcaster MAX gave the green light for the first time to broadcast a live operation on television. A 70-year-old man underwent successful open heart surgery live at the St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein. After this well-received broadcast, live broadcasts of brain surgery and a kidney transplant followed in 2011 and 2012. In October 2013, broadcaster MAX followed suit with the broadcast of a live caesarean section at the Vlietland Hospital in Schiedam.

The natural caesarean section

The operation that is central to the fourth edition of the ‘Operation Live’ program is the natural caesarean section. It is an operation in which a baby is born surgically through the abdominal wall. The expectant mother is anesthetized by means of an epidural injection. The lower body is anesthetized, but the mother is fully conscious. As soon as the baby is born, he or she is placed directly on the mother’s chest, just like in a natural birth. This promotes the bond between mother and her baby. The Vlietland Hospital in Schiedam is one of the first hospitals where the natural caesarean section is performed.

The operation itself only takes fifteen minutes, but the preparation, suturing the abdominal wall and checking the baby takes about an hour. The caesarean section is performed at the Vlietland Hospital in Schiedam by gynecologist Annemarie Huijssoon. During the broadcast, Charles Groenhuijsen, presenter of Operation Live, discusses the pros and cons of the procedure together with fellow gynecologist Marjolein Baaij and other specialists. The operation is explained and questions can be asked via Twitter and via the MAX broadcaster’s helpdesk on the website www.omroepmax.nl/tv/alle-programmas/operationlive/questionbaak/. During the broadcast there is a live connection between the operating room and the studio in the hospital.

Purpose of Operation Live

The ‘Operation Live’ program from broadcaster MAX shows live operations to give people a clear explanation of the how and why of an operation. In the fourth edition of the program they explain the reasons for a caesarean section. A gynecologist chooses a planned caesarean section if:

  • The woman has a pelvis that is too narrow to allow the head to pass through
  • The placenta is located in front of the cervix
  • The baby lies transversely in the womb
  • Complications from a previous birth give rise to this
  • The mother’s health does not permit a normal delivery

A gynecologist chooses an unplanned caesarean section if:

  • The woman is not dilated
  • The baby’s health is at risk
  • The health of the mother is at risk

There are always risks associated with surgery. This also applies to the caesarean section. During the broadcast, Charles Groenhuijsen discusses the risks of the operation, the preparations that need to be made and the mother’s recovery after the operation. The program is not aiming for sensation. The hospital sees it as a unique opportunity for people to witness the beginning of a new life. It is a frequently performed and relatively safe procedure for a gynecologist. In the event of any complications, the agreement was that the broadcast would be stopped immediately.

Baby Billy

Unlike other operations, under normal circumstances, the patient receives a wonderful gift for undergoing the operation. On Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 10:32 PM, a healthy baby girl was born via a natural caesarean section during the live broadcast of Operation Live. The girl was named Billy by her parents and mother Nadia and child are doing well. The parents already have a daughter, Mimi, who is two years old.