Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Mother vs. Her Fetus

Doctors vote for the fetus which results in the death of both.

In a case that's both tragic and absolutely maddening, a series of Polish doctors allowed a pregnant woman to die from a colon condition because they feared that treatment would threaten her fetus. Edyta (a pseudonym adopted to protect the family) was two months pregnant when she was diagnosed with a painful colon disease that was aggravated by her pregnancy. She searched for a doctor who would treat her condition, and was repeatedly refused; eventually her illness worsened until she miscarried and died.

What a sad, sad story and a perfect illustration of how blind adherence to a doctrine can lead to bad consequences. I don't see how any pro-lifer could think this is an acceptable outcome. I completely understand the desire to not harm a fetus, but this fetus was killed because doctors were worried about harming it. That doesn't mean I think this was an easy, black and white case. I do think that when these events come up, doctors need to keep in mind that they have two patients - the mother and the fetus. Addressing these matters is tricky, but that's why hospitals have ethics committees, so that messy situations can be hashed out and the best possible path forward found. Surely a better outcome than this could have been found.

1 comment:

Tsar Clef Hue John said...

It's easy for these pro-lifers to hoot and holler unless it comes down to their spouse or their children. I suspect their tune would change rather dramatically. Probably like going from a Slayer concert to a Marley concert.