Journal temporarily withdraws COVID-19 “labor cage” study

via AJOG

A study whose title suggested an “effective” way to give birth during the coronavirus pandemic has been temporarily retracted because the publisher says the word “effective” was included in the title by accident.

The method (pictured above) involved an enclosed, transparent chamber walling off the mother’s upper half from the rest of the world. It wasn’t very well received, according to an Essential Baby article that cited Twitter users referring to the “delivery table shield”  as a “labor cage” and “greenhouse.”

The study, called “An effective protective equipment to use in the vaginal delivery of the pregnant women with suspected/diagnosed COVID-19: Delivery Table Shield” was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG), an Elsevier journal, on June 15. Most of the authors were affiliated with the Turkish Ministry of Health at Ankara City Hospital.

But it was swiftly removed. The temporary retraction notice says:

The publisher regrets that this article has been temporarily removed. A replacement will appear as soon as possible in which the reason for the removal of the article will be specified, or the article will be reinstated.

(We are not fans of Elsevier’s approach to such temporary withdrawals.)

We contacted the editors of AJOG for comment, who forwarded our request for comment to Andrea Boccelli, the journal’s publisher at Elsevier. Boccelli told us by email:

I am responding to you because this article in press had to be temporarily taken down because of a production error, and not an editorial error.

The word “effective” was mistakenly included in the title of the article even though the authors had deleted it. Because the author’s changes prior to acceptance didn’t seem to be included in the accepted manuscript that was posted online the decision was made to temporarily remove the entire article and review it for errors.  The file should be reposted early next week.

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