Forced to Carry a Dead Fetus: Medical Malpractice?

 

When I hear stories about doctors showing such poor decision-making skills, I have to wonder how they got through medical school. I am assuming, at the very least, that this story is true. And I also I wonder if these doctors are making political decisions about the SCOTUS ruling on Roe v. Wade or if they are genuinely confused. Either way, these situations should not be happening.

The most horrific story I read was of a woman who was forced to carry the remains of a miscarriage in her body for two weeks. Her doctor refused to remove the dead fetus, due to the changes of the law in Texas, even though the fetus showed no heartbeat on the ultrasound. You can read the entire story here.

The timid doctors who are supposedly afraid of breaking the law for removing a dead fetus appear to be unconcerned that the pregnant woman might die if the remains are not removed:

Dr. Lillian Schapiro, who has been an OB-GYN in Atlanta for more than 30 years, said carrying around a dead fetus is also dangerous to the mother.

‘She can develop an infection that can make her sterile and never able to have children again,’ she said.

Or even worse. ‘When the baby dies inside, the baby starts to release parts of its tissue that can get into the mother’s blood supply. It can cause organ failure. It can cause death,’ Schapiro said.

And let’s not forget that the threat of lawsuits (which is often present in the medical field) hangs over everyone’s head.

So what should be done in light of these confused doctors?

John Seago, president of Texas Right to Life, said he considers any obstacle facing abortion patients to be a ‘very serious situation.’ He attributed such problems to a ‘malfunction in the communication of the law, not the law itself.’ adding ‘I have seen reports of doctors being confused, but it is a failure of our medical associations to provide clear guidance.’

Were there no guidelines for dealing with miscarriage up to this point? There have been guidelines that could have been followed until these doctors could clear up their confusion:

Sarah Prager, MD, an obstetrics and gynecology professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in a typical early miscarriage, when cardiac activity has stopped, patients should be offered three options for tissue removal.

D&Cs are recommended when patients are bleeding heavily, have anemia, have problems with blood clotting or have certain conditions that make them medically fragile, Dr. Prager said. Some other patients also choose to have a D&C, finding them emotionally easier than a lengthy procedure at home.

Another option is medication – usually mifepristone, which weakens the membrane lining the uterus and softens the cervix, followed by misoprostol, which causes contractions. These pills are used for abortion medicine.

The third option is “anticipatory management”: waiting for the tissue to pass on its own, which can take weeks. It is unsuccessful for 20 percent of patients, who then require surgery or medication, said Dr. Prager, co-author of Abortion Management, Guidelines for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

When possible, patients should be allowed to choose the method because the lack of choice adds to the trauma of losing the desired pregnancy, doctors and patients said.

If a woman has experienced a miscarriage, the medications listed obviously would be used to remove the miscarriage remains, not to abort a living fetus.

Frankly, I think most of the protests listed here are political, not practical. We have no way of knowing which of the doctors described are pro-abortion or pro-life, but we are talking about miscarriages. And for those doctors who are concerned about not risking the life of the mother, don’t you think they might transcend their political beliefs and take ethical, practical, and life-saving action?

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  1. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    The Doc was a [REDACTED] moron.  There’s no other words.

    • #1
  2. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    From what I’m seeing in the popular medical press, I’d answer your final question…”No.”

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Caryn (View Comment):

    From what I’m seeing in the popular medical press, I’d answer your final question…”No.”

    Very good point, Caryn. The patients, for many doctors, simply don’t matter. Sad

    • #3
  4. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Pro-abortion groups have been actively and intentionally spreading the false information that several anti-abortion laws  (including Texas’) prevent doctors from treating miscarriages. This doctor probably heard or read those views, and (being a doctor, not a lawyer) relied on the commentaries she read rather than reading the law itself. Remember many of the medical professional groups are pro-abortion. I don’t know that any of those medical professional groups are spreading the false information, but it’s possible some people associated with those groups wrote some of the commentaries this doctor may have read. 

    • #4
  5. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    I suspect these doctors are consumers of the main stream media.  I’m sure every horrific and ridiculous “what if” scenario has been shouted repeatedly from the rooftop.  We saw at Uvalde what substituting bureaucracy and timidity for common sense and courage leads to.

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    This doctor probably heard or read those views, and (being a doctor, not a lawyer) relied on the commentaries she read rather than reading the law itself.

    That is so unethical, but she may have been angry about the change in law. Thanks for pointing out that fact.

    • #6
  7. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    I call nonsense to this report and expect that there are significant bits of actual information missing. Women have been having miscarriages – and been treated for them – for a long time. There is plenty of evidence of some pretty confused docs these days, but I’ll posit an even likelihood that the OB making the assertion of malpractice is really an abortion apologetic and making her own kind of statement.
    I just don’t buy that there are confused ER docs all over the place who had no idea how to treat her legally.  Had a woman gone to her own OB they would have examined and assessed her, and admitted her as appropriate. 

    • #7
  8. kidCoder Member
    kidCoder
    @kidCoder

    I think it’s perfectly fine for abortion to be fully illegal by statute.

    But also require physicians to have a duty to their patients’ lives, also by statue. That way you get the medically necessary procedures. And doctors get a shield for that which is necessary.

    As @ishottheserif is fond of saying these days “If you need an abortion to save your life, and your doctor won’t because he’s worried about the abortion laws, then leave and find a different doctor.”

    • #8
  9. DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    The Doc was a [REDACTED] moron. There’s no other words.

    My first thought was that the doctor was more interested in the woman as a political symbol, instead of treating her as a patient.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    EODmom (View Comment):

    I call nonsense to this report and expect that there are significant bits of actual information missing. Women have been having miscarriages – and been treated for them – for a long time. There is plenty of evidence of some pretty confused docs these days, but I’ll posit an even likelihood that the OB making the assertion of malpractice is really an abortion apologetic and making her own kind of statement.
    I just don’t buy that there are confused ER docs all over the place who had no idea how to treat her legally. Had a woman gone to her own OB they would have examined and assessed her, and admitted her as appropriate.

    The article indicated that she did go to her own doctor. I was the one who used the term “malpractice,” and I was referring to the patient’s not being treated as needed. The couple of places I saw the story in print pretty much told the whole story, which doesn’t mean key information was omitted; that’s why I wondered how it was possible.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    kidCoder (View Comment):
    As @ishottheserif is fond of saying these days “If you need an abortion to save your life, and your doctor won’t because he’s worried about the abortion laws, then leave and find a different doctor.”

    We both know what a wise woman she is!

    • #11
  12. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Since so much is politicized these days, don’t underestimate the possibility that the “patient” is an abortion apologist who may or may not have had a miscarriage, but is putting a face to a horrifying sounding story.  The second long extract (from an increasingly unintelligibly written article, if you follow the link to the whole thing) in the OP includes three options for handling miscarriage, one of which is “anticipatory management.”  That translates to letting nature take its course and waiting for the body to expel the miscarried fetus–or whatever is left of it.  As noted, it may take a couple of weeks, but is effective in about 80% of cases.  In other words, miscarriages happen and resolve on their own without chemical or surgical intervention (either of which carries its own risks).

    BTW, it will be interesting to watch the next few years of statistics on the proportion of pregnancies that end in “miscarriage.”  I expect plenty of illegal abortions will be done under cover of “miscarriage management” rather than miscarriages not being appropriately managed due to fear of prosecution.  If the statistics tick up, we’ll have a pretty good idea that’s what’s going on.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Caryn (View Comment):
    BTW, it will be interesting to watch the next few years of statistics on the proportion of pregnancies that end in “miscarriage.”  I expect plenty of illegal abortions will be done under cover of “miscarriage management” rather than miscarriages not being appropriately managed due to fear of prosecution.  If the statistics tick up, we’ll have a pretty good idea that’s what’s going on.

    This outcome wouldn’t surprise me, either. BTW, that second article wasn’t well-written, but it seemed to have helpful information. The NYTimes article was behind a paywall, but then who knows if it would have been fairly written. It’s hard to know where to get honest data anymore.

    • #13
  14. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    I view all of these horrific abortion cases with the same skepticism that I view all of the Juicy Smolliet and similar ilk racism crime reports.  They are either completely false, or intentionally misrepresented to make political points.  Like true cases of horrific racism, they are extremely rare.  Take each reported case with a huge boulder of salt.  

    In the mean time, look for many, many of these “alleged” incidents to be reported between now and November. 

    • #14
  15. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    The Doc was a [REDACTED] moron. There’s no other words.

    Absolutely.

    Once the baby has died, it’s not an abortion anymore.  Obviously.

    This makes no sense whatsoever.  Something is missing in this story – something big.

    I just can’t believe that a doctor would do this.  Nearly impossible.  Something is going on here.  Nobody’s that stupid.

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    The Doc was a [REDACTED] moron. There’s no other words.

    Absolutely.

    Once the baby has died, it’s not an abortion anymore. Obviously.

    This makes no sense whatsoever. Something is missing in this story – something big.

    I just can’t believe that a doctor would do this. Nearly impossible. Something is going on here. Nobody’s that stupid.

    If anyone comes across a “revised” story, I would love the link. I want to believe this doesn’t happen. But so far, no one is confessing . . . 

    • #16
  17. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    One of the things COVID has taught us is that most medical people are not any brighter or in touch then the rest of us.  If anything they are less so and working for larger corporations more susceptible to corporate HR pressure to shut up and do your job.   If they lean Left anywhat then they think the worse of the Right and are more likely to believe the MSN.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    One of the things COVID has taught us is that most medical people are not any brighter or in touch then the rest of us. If anything they are less so and working for larger corporations more susceptible to corporate HR pressure to shut up and do your job. If they lean Left anywhat then they think the worse of the Right and are more likely to believe the MSN.

    . . . and you are also correct, John. We only need to observe the medical practitioners who have been prepared to sacrifice their lives on the  altar of political correctness and government mandates. And the people who will suffer while they raise a ruckus are innocent people.

    • #18
  19. DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    We only need to observe the medical practitioners who have been prepared to sacrifice their lives on the  altar of political correctness and government mandates. And the people who will suffer while they raise a ruckus are innocent people.

    When we have “health experts” like this . . .

    • #19
  20. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Woke Doctors forgot about their Hippocratic Oath.

    • #20
  21. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    DrewInWisconsin, Unapologetic … (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    We only need to observe the medical practitioners who have been prepared to sacrifice their lives on the altar of political correctness and government mandates. And the people who will suffer while they raise a ruckus are innocent people.

    When we have “health experts” like this . . .

    • #21
  22. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    If the doctor had removed the dead fetus, under the unusual Texas law, he could be sued for $10,000.  If the doctor won, he could not recover this attorney’s fees, or his lost income due to sitting in a Courtroom, while paying the overhead for his office.  If the doctor lost, he would be facing mandatory attorney’s fees.

    The problem is not the doctor.  The problem is the Texas law that the Republican Legislature passed and Greg Abbott signed.

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If the doctor had removed the dead fetus, under the unusual Texas law, he could be sued for $10,000. If the doctor won, he could not recover this attorney’s fees, or his lost income due to sitting in a Courtroom, while paying the overhead for his office. If the doctor lost, he would be facing mandatory attorney’s fees.

    The problem is not the doctor. The problem is the Texas law that the Republican Legislature passed and Greg Abbott signed.

    That makes no sense. There is no fetal heartbeat because the baby is dead. It is not an abortion. People can sue anyone for anything, if you want to get technical. Frivolous lawsuits should be punished.

    • #23
  24. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    If the doctor had removed the dead fetus, under the unusual Texas law, he could be sued for $10,000. If the doctor won, he could not recover this attorney’s fees, or his lost income due to sitting in a Courtroom, while paying the overhead for his office. If the doctor lost, he would be facing mandatory attorney’s fees.

    The problem is not the doctor. The problem is the Texas law that the Republican Legislature passed and Greg Abbott signed.

    I don’t think that this is true, Gary.  Removing a dead fetus is not an abortion.

    Of course, someone could bring a baseless lawsuit.  People can always do that.  Someone could sue a doctor who didn’t do anything, claiming that he did.

    I don’t know Texas law on recovery of attorneys’ fees.  Arizona has a provision allowing recovery of fees for a baseless lawsuit. 

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I don’t think that this is true, Gary.  Removing a dead fetus is not an abortion.

    Of course, someone could bring a baseless lawsuit.  People can always do that.  Someone could sue a doctor who didn’t do anything, claiming that he did.

    I don’t know Texas law on recovery of attorneys’ fees.  Arizona has a provision allowing recovery of fees for a baseless lawsuit. 

    You read my mind, Jerry. Thank you.

    • #25
  26. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    The problem is the Texas law that the Republican Legislature passed and Greg Abbott signed.

    Spoken like a true non-Republican . . .

    • #26
  27. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    That makes no sense. There is no fetal heartbeat because the baby is dead. It is not an abortion.

    I agree.

    • #27
  28. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan, I am confused about the story.

    The quote from Dr. Prager indicates that allowing nature to take its course is one of the treatments for miscarriage.  The Mayo Clinic webpage (here) states the same thing, except that it reverses the order of the options, with the “do nothing” option (called “expectant management”) listed first, followed by the pharmaceutical option to induce labor (called “medical treatment”) listed second, and the surgical option listed third.

    I did follow the link to the story.  The story says that the alleged victim had to get a “second invasive ultrasound.”

    Read that again.  An “invasive ultrasound.”  Ultrasounds are non-invasive.

    So this leads me to believe that this article is a pack of lies cobbled together to support a pro-abortion narrative.

    I’m not a doctor.  I’m just reading the quote from Dr. Prager in Susan’s post, and then looking at what the Mayo Clinic says.

    From the article, it looks like the first doctor essentially wanted a second opinion on the ultrasound.  That doesn’t seem crazy to me, especially as the report from both Dr. Prager and the Mayo Clinic indicate that a “do nothing” approach is acceptable, absent some indication of infection.  The story mentions no such indication of infection. 

    • #28
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Susan, I am confused about the story.

    The quote from Dr. Prager indicates that allowing nature to take its course is one of the treatments for miscarriage. The Mayo Clinic webpage (here) states the same thing, except that it reverses the order of the options, with the “do nothing” option (called “expectant management”) listed first, followed by the pharmaceutical option to induce labor (called “medical treatment”) listed second, and the surgical option listed third.

    I did follow the link to the story. The story says that the alleged victim had to get a “second invasive ultrasound.”

    Read that again. An “invasive ultrasound.” Ultrasounds are non-invasive.

    So this leads me to believe that this article is a pack of lies cobbled together to support a pro-abortion narrative.

    I’m not a doctor. I’m just reading the quote from Dr. Prager in Susan’s post, and then looking at what the Mayo Clinic says.

    From the article, it looks like the first doctor essentially wanted a second opinion on the ultrasound. That doesn’t seem crazy to me, especially as the report from both Dr. Prager and the Mayo Clinic indicate that a “do nothing” approach is acceptable, absent some indication of infection. The story mentions no such indication of infection.

    I can understand your skepticism. First, the lists for options are guidelines, so that any doctor or hospital may choose different priorities. Second, I have had an “invasive ultrasound” for unidentified bleeding (nothing to do with pregnancy). It was one of the most excruciating procedures I’ve ever had; they did go internal. Finally, the patient is supposed to have some say about selecting the option; since she said she was in terrible pain, it doesn’t sound like letting nature take its course was such a good idea. But like you, I’m not a doctor either.

    • #29
  30. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Read that again.  An “invasive ultrasound.”  Ultrasounds are non-invasive.

    Perhaps they were referring to a vaginal ultrasound, where they insert the probe into the . . . well, the thing Lia Thomas lacks . . .

    • #30
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