Today’s post is an email sent to SPL from Kathleen Szekely, reprinted with permission.
I just read your excellent piece on the Ohio/Washington DC miscarriage issue. This needs to be heard over and over, because not only does it expose a lie about healthcare law and state law, it exposes media bias and is an example of really poor analysis of information outside of their wheelhouse.
I have a similar personal story that illustrates the absurdity of stringing together assumed political relevance with real emergency practice.
In my case, a potentially fatal fallopian tube rupture was the result of an ectopic pregnancy. My pregnancy had been closely followed with serial labs and ultrasounds suspiciously showing no intrauterine sac with an increasing HCG. After a week or so, a sudden onset of new symptoms was dismissed by my doctor. Even though he had access to my record, he told me that I was miscarrying. Hours later, I landed in the emergency room for lifesaving surgery. I lost enough blood that I needed to be transfused as well.
As in the recent DC/Ohio story, it is a mistake to recharacterize a medical judgment as a political judgement. In my case, the players were most definitely abortion-minded. “Is this a pregnancy you care to keep?” were first words on intake for bleeding in early pregnancy. This question came from a well-known practice in New York state, where abortion is abundant, despite the question having no relevance in decision making about my care.
So mishandling can happen no matter what the provider’s bias is. At no time did I think this doctor dismissed notorious symptoms because his organization was openly pro-abortion, the state has open access to abortion, or he himself may be indifferent to prenatal human life. His dismissal was a bad call, incompetence, period.
I wonder if fact-checkers know the written law or medical terms, or if they interview enough emergency room staff when trying to understand the complexity of medical care. Do they know what EMTALA is, and what a HCW’s obligation is by license and practice acts?
I am an experienced RN, with past practice in six different states. I asked a pro-choice emergency room physician whom I am close with about this issue. He replied that even though he has never witnessed a violation of mandates to deliver care and stabilize patients, he also added “but I did read about it happening somewhere.” We both knew refusal of care would be illegal in any state; bad practice punishable by sentencing, loss of licensure, and knowing what it cost a patient.