I’ve been re-reading the National Women’s Law Center report on religious restrictions at hospitals that put women’s lives at risk, from January 2011. It’s about what happened to Savita Halappanavar last month and what happens to a significant (but unknown) number of women because of religious bullshit surrounding the termination of pregnancy. It’s about hospitals substituting religious bullshit for technical medical understanding and experience.
What it tells us.
The Center’s report, Below the Radar: Ibis Study Shows that Health Care Providers’ Religious Refusals Can Endanger Pregnant Women’s Lives and Health, demonstrates that certain hospitals, because of their religious beliefs, deny emergency care, the standard of care and adequate information to make treatment decisions to patients experiencing miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. The study and report focused on cases where no medical intervention was possible that would allow the patient to continue her pregnancy and where delaying treatment would endanger the woman’s health or even life.
Exactly what happened to Savita Halappanavar, you see. University Hospital Galway denied her the standard of care, because of religious obstruction. She died.
“Most women assume that when they go to a hospital they will be offered the best medical treatment options for their diagnosis,” said NWLC Co-President Marcia D. Greenberger. “But this report paints a chilling picture of women with ectopic pregnancies or suffering miscarriages who are not offered the full spectrum of medically appropriate treatment options because they have gone to a hospital whose religious affiliation conflicts with the provision of those options.”
And they won’t be told that, so they don’t report it. If they die, their relatives don’t report it.
The reports highlight stark cases where doctors noted a discrepancy between the medically-accepted standard of care for miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy and the treatment provided by hospitals due to their religious affiliation. For example, while the standard of care for certain ectopic pregnancies requires patients to receive the medication methotrexate, doctors in the study reported that their hospitals forbade the use of the drug.
A fetus can’t survive an ectopic pregnancy. Methotrexate dissolves the fetus. The godbotherers forbid it – they want the woman to keep on having the fetus stuck in her fallopian tube until the tube bursts.
One doctor in the study reported several instances of potentially fatal tubal ruptures in patients with ectopic pregnancies at her Catholic-affiliated hospital. She said that her hospital subjected patients with ectopic pregnancies to unnecessary delays in treatment, despite patients’ exhibiting serious symptoms indicating that a tubal rupture was possible. These patients, therefore, were denied emergency care to which they were legally entitled.
Which puts their lives at risk, as well as their future ability to reproduce.
And here is the situation in that hospital in Galway. Emphasis added.
In some of the miscarriage cases described in the Ibis Study, the standard of care also required immediate treatment. Yet doctors practicing at Catholic-affiliated hospitals were forced to delay treatment while performing medically unnecessary tests. Even though these miscarriages were inevitable, and no medical treatment was available to save the fetus, some patients were transferred because doctors were required to wait until there was no longer a fetal heartbeat to provide the needed medical care. This delay subjected these patients to further risks of hemorrhage and infection and could have violated their right to receive emergency medical treatment under federal law.
This isn’t priest-ridden Ireland we’re talking about, this is the US of A. This is priest-ridden healthcare in the US of A.
Some doctors at religiously affiliated hospitals are speaking out. Dr. Robert B. Holder, an ob-gyn at Sierra Vista Regional Health Center, a Catholic–affiliated hospital in Sierra Vista, Arizona told the Center: “A couple came into the ER after the wife had miscarried one of her twins at home. When I determined that the remaining twin was in a hopeless situation, this couple faced a tragic, heart-wrenching decision. After helping them make the medically appropriate decision to complete the miscarriage, I contacted the hospital’s administration to seek permission to perform a uterine evacuation. I wasn’t granted permission and I was told to inform this already traumatized couple that their decision was seen as “unethical” per the Directives.
“I was ashamed and angered when I transferred this patient by ambulance to a secular hospital in Tucson, 80 miles away to get proper care,” he added. “This patient was successfully treated in the end, but ultimately she didn’t receive the treatment she was entitled to in her local community hospital.”
That’s disgusting. It’s all disgusting.