Saturday, January 28, 2006

Back to the Future

Here's where we're heading, folks:

I remember getting introduced to something called septic abortion. It is a condition that is caused by the breakdown of bacteria in an infected site. I remember a woman losing the tips of her fingers because of the endotoxic shock causing the blood vessels to shrink down. It was just terrible.

They were denied the medical help to save their life unless they confessed. Detectives came in and were questioning. Whenever we got a hint that it might be illegal, or the causation was some sort of illegal operation, we had to report it.

I'd say, "You're going to die if you don't tell us. You're going to die and it's going to be terrible." That's a horrible thing for a doctor to have to scare the hell out of his patient in order to save her life. It's terrible, but that's what we did. That's what we had to do.:::

The image that I retain was that of a 31-year-old Mexican-American woman who died of endotoxic shock with her husband and four or five children around. I see the bed. I see the kids crying and I see the husband crying. It's a strange condition, this endotoxic shock. Your ability to reason and talk is fine. You just don't have any blood pressure and have a blue coloration. We know they're going to die and yet they haven't lost it. The last thing that goes is the brain. The kidney is shut down. The heart's going a little irregular and there's nothing we can do, because the bacteria and clots have gone throughout the body into all the blood vessels of all the vital organs, and yet they're talking to us. It's a sense of helplessness.

Dr. William Harrison of Fayetteville, Arkansas, has ignited a recent firestorm of condemnation among the religious right. But he has a long memory, too.


zelda1 said...

Because I went to nursing school in the mid seventies, and because abortions were not being done in the area where I lived and worked, and because birthcontrol clinics still required the husband or the parent's consents, well, there were a lot of botched up abortions. A lot of infections, and vaginal and rectal mutilations. It was a time that I, too, will never forget. Women coming in with ten kids at home, and giving birth to a baby that she had tried for nine months to abort. A baby that was in pretty bad physical shape. Or the women who succeeded in aborting but costing their uteruses and sometimes, often, their lives. I remember a twelve year old girl who came in with fever and chills, and in the course of the examination, the doctor diagnosed her as having just had an abortion and she was septic, part of the fetus was still inside her, and during the course of the questions of what doctor did the abortion, it was revealed that her mother had done it. Her mother, the mother of 14 kids, trying to help her daughter not to be like her, unfortuantely she was wrong, and even worse the little girl died. I think about that little girl a lot and even more, I think about the mother.

Bardiac said...

Great post, and great links. Thank you.