It’s not just Ireland. Don’t think that. It’s Poland, it’s Nicaragua…it’s the US.
A recent study entitled “Assessing hospital polices & practices regarding ectopic pregnancy & miscarriage management” investigated whether and how doctors’ treatment decisions regarding these potentially dangerous conditions are affected by working in religiously-affiliated hospitals.1 This Study focuses on Catholic hospitals as the largest religiously-affiliated provider in the United States,2 and uncovers disturbing examples of treatment practices that increase the odds of medical complications that place women’s lives and health at risk. The religiously-based limitations on doctors’ treatment of serious pregnancy complications documented in the Study contravene core principles underlying federal, and sometimes state, laws that are intended to protect patients.
This means situations exactly like that of Savita Halappanavar.
If it is determined that nothing can be done that would allow the woman to continue her pregnancy, the established standard of care for unstable patients who are miscarrying is an immediate surgical uterine evacuation.14 In the case of such a patient, immediate uterine evacuation reduces the patient’s risk of complications, including blood loss, hemorrhage, infection, and the loss of future fertility.15 A delay in treatment may subject a woman to unnecessary blood transfusions, risk of infection, hysterectomy or even death.16 Some Catholic hospitals, contrary to the opinion of leading Catholic ethicists and theologians,17 apply the Directives to prohibit doctors from providing any treatment to a woman having a miscarriage if there are still fetal heart tones, even when a doctor has determined that nothing can be done to save the pregnancy and the woman’s health is placed at risk by delaying immediate treatment. These hospitals will require that doctors withhold treatment until there are no fetal heart tones, or there are specific indications that a woman’s life is at risk, such as the onset of a serious infection.
Not Ireland. Not Poland. Not Nicaragua. The United States.