Mylène Shankland (She/Her/Elle)

Doctoral Students
  • Email Address:
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  • Programme:
    Ph.D. Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies
  • Project Title:
    Obstetric violence: towards a queer clinical and organizational ethics respectful of all stakeholders
  • Project Description:
    In recent years, there has been an increase in reports of obstetric violence (OV), which can be defined as acts, procedures and behaviors that are considered abusive and disrespectful to reproductive health by the people who experience them. This violence falls within a spectrum ranging from what can be perceived as banal (e.g., non-consensual vaginal examination) to very serious (e.g., non-consensual surgery). First, the literature describes the experiences of women experiencing OV, documenting post-traumatic stress disorder, harmful consequences in conjugal life and in the relationship with the newborn, and feelings of distress, anxiety, stress, suffering, insecurity and abandonment. Second, OVs appear to be increasing due to the pace of work in obstetrical settings, increased reliance on technology and the medicalization of pregnancy. The routine of healthcare professionals, the rigidity of care protocols and the invisibility of the person giving birth are identified as sources of OVs. In this regard, clinical ethics practices argue that value conflicts are often at the root of misunderstandings in the healthcare setting between users, healthcare professional and the institution, and could explain part of this phenomenon. Moreover, to resolve this type of conflict, it is essential to identify values dilemma between stakeholders in order to propose ethical organizational changes. However, the point of view of healthcare professionals and managers of healthcare institutions is little studied. This gap in the literature therefore makes it impossible to assess the situation as a whole. Thus, the objective of this research is to determine the values in conflict between stakeholders in order to propose a model of organizational ethics adapted to obstetrics departments and birthing centres in Ontario and Quebec. The main objective is to determine the convergences and divergences in the perceptions of action deemed problematic in order to propose an ethical and organizational model specific to the realities and needs of reproductive healthcare.
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