Browsing the Internet, I came across Jessica Caldwell’s essay Fractured: A First Date, in which she tells her story of breaking her arm in a drunken flirtatious arm-wrestling session. What struck me about it was that, when the doctor saw her in the emergency room, he told her that he would need to do a pregnancy test to confirm she wasn’t pregnant before he could X-ray her arm.
Wait, what? I get that, if a woman is pregnant, it’s worth thinking about whether a particular X-ray/CT can be postponed a few months until she no longer has a passenger to share in the radiation dose; doses from X-rays are trivial, but can add up over a lifetime and it makes sense to limit them. But Caldwell had a broken arm. Her X-ray was essential and couldn’t wait.
I’m wondering – what on earth would that doctor have done if Caldwell’s pregnancy test had been positive? Left her with a second elbow in her arm for the next nine months? Put a cast on it sans X-ray and kept fingers crossed that it didn’t heal too crooked? You know, I formulated those questions as flippant ones… thinking about some of the scary things I’ve heard about the dominance of pro-life thinking in the USA, I’m actually not too sure. If Caldwell had been pregnant, would she actually have found her doctors putting that embryo’s priorities before hers and denying her the X-ray she needed for her medical care?