Editor of The Lancet Discusses Controversial Wax Home Birth Paper

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By Jill—Unnecesarean

Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal, The Lancet, published an article today called “Offline: Urgency and concern about home births” in which he updated readers on the latest in the Wax home birth study controversy. The Lancet received what Horton calls “a tidal wave of criticism” for giving attention to the 2010 systematic review by Joseph Wax, et. al., that appeared in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

According to Horton, Carl Michal from the University of British Columbia, along with a public health scientist and three academic midwifery colleagues, wrote to the editors of AJOG asking for a retraction of the “deeply flawed” article. Wrote Horton:

AJOG allegedly issued a “highly misleading” press release to advertise the off ending paper. Michal et al now “request a press release from the Journal announcing the retraction”. Their 9-page letter points to mistakes in definitions, numerical errors, selective and mistaken inclusion and exclusion of studies, conflation of association and causation, and additional statistical problems. The result is a paper that is “nonsensical”. They ask that the editors of AJOG act with “urgency and concern” to address the “insupportable conclusion” of the article. Their letter is dated Sep 15, 2010. So far, the editors of the journal have yet to respond in public.



Additional Reading: 

OB/GYN Journal Fast Tracks Anti-Home Birth Study in Advance of Pro-Midwife Legislation

New Study Identifies Need to Distinguish Planned from Unplanned Home Births



The Wax Paper: Home Birth Science or Propaganda?” (The Big Push)