A tale of horror from Eire. A hospitalized woman was allowed to die in terrible pain over the course of nearly three days because her 17-week fetus, which doctors said would not survive, had a detectable heartbeat.
“This is a Catholic hospital,” they told the dying woman. Indeed it was. A place where hateful anti-woman religious doctrine demands gross medical malpractice instead of 21st-century health care. Prominent blogger P.Z. Myers doesn’t hold back on this one, and neither should we. This is no time for calm, measured words.
Savita Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen, said doctors determined that she was miscarrying within hours of her hospitalization for severe pain on Sunday, Oct. 21. He said that over the next three days doctors refused their requests for a termination of her fetus to combat her own surging pain and fading health.
…”Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby,” he told The Irish Times in a telephone interview from Belgaum, southwest India.
“When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning, Savita asked: ‘If they could not save the baby, could they induce to end the pregnancy?’ The consultant said: ‘As long as there is a fetal heartbeat, we can’t do anything.’”
“Again on Tuesday morning … the consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic,’ but they said there was nothing they could do,” Praveen Halappanavar was quoted as saying.
“Savita has a lot of doctors in her family, a lot of medical people, her uncle, her aunt, many people who are in medicine and they are all asking, ‘How can this happen in the 21st century, when the medical field is so advanced?’ and ‘Why didn’t they abort her?’”
“So I had to explain the whole thing, about the law there [in Ireland] and how [when] the foetus is live… and they were all just, some people even laughed at me. ‘That’s crazy’ they said.
“And I just had to tell them, that’s the way it is, that unfortunately that’s the country we were in at the time.
“People keep asking me, ‘How could they leave the womb open for two days? There is a high risk of infection there’
“A common thing I’m asked: ‘The mother’s life is a bigger life. They knew that they couldn’t save the baby. Why didn’t they look at the bigger life?’”
A good question, but I think we know the answer to that.