Last week, the British media reported on the tragic case of a woman who died after a delayed diagnosis of sepsis during miscarriage. Mrs Reeta Saidha was not offered a surgical termination because doctors advised her to wait and undergo the miscarriage naturally.
An inquest into her death at Basildon Hospital heard that Mrs Saidha was 15 weeks pregnant when her waters broke. She was told that the baby would not survive but that it was better to wait until her body naturally expelled the child. Two days later she was diagnosed with severe sepsis.
Medical staff at the hospital agreed that there were ‘missed opportunities’ in diagnosing and treating Mrs Saidha, who was not eventually taken for surgery until 16 hours after an eventual diagnosis of sepsis was made. The hearing was told that it had been “an extremely busy day at the hospital”.
The tragic case sounds almost identical to that of Savita Halappanavar, but it took place in Britain, where, despite abortion-on-demand being legal for 50 years, sepsis remains the most common cause of maternal death.
No need then, for the media to use this tragedy to try to spin a case for legalising abortion or for insisting that pro-life laws were ‘killing women’. The Irish media hasn’t reported on this death from sepsis, following a decision not to terminate, because it might lead people to these obvious conclusions:
- An ‘expectant management’ approach is standard practise across the world where a miscarriage is inevitable, but medics need to be ever-vigilant for signs of sepsis. The approach adopted in Savita’s case is clearly nothing to do with Ireland being a ‘Catholic country’ or the 8th amendment.
- Sepsis is the leading cause of maternal death in the UK, where abortion is legal. Just as in Savita’s case, medical mismanagement, not the law, was to blame for this tragedy. Sadly, medical mismanagement will continue to happen despite the repeal of the right to life of preborn children.
- Sepsis can escalate quickly and can be devastating. Women are increasingly in danger of sepsis, especially in the under-funded, increasingly chaotic, Irish maternal healthcare service, but hey, it seems Simon Harris will continue to get a free pass as long as he continues to push an extremist agenda on abortion.
Instead of legalising abortion, it might have actually served women better if the government had funded maternal healthcare, but there’s always the possibility that they might have believed abortion to be a cheaper option.
May Mrs Reeta Saidha RIP. Our condolences to her family at this tragic time.
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