Saturday, August 18, 2012

Law, religion, and medical care

This story saddened me. A 16 year old girl who was 13 weeks pregnant died from complications from leukemia in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic constitution forbids abortion which I believe is within their rights to decide as a country. This is probably due to the main religion of the country - Catholicism. Her doctors were concerned that chemotherapy would induce an abortion. It took 20 days to reach the decision that she could receive chemotherapy. At that point she miscarried, had a cardiac arrest and could not be revived.

While I am certainly not going to get into a discussion on the Catholic church's opinion of abortion or the Dominican Republic's Constitution, nor discuss the subject of teen pregnancy, I do feel that the purpose of the Hippocratic Oath was to do no harm. To me this means taking care of the patient first. Where was the sense of urgency in making this decision to let her receive chemotherapy? Why wasn't the concern for the life of the mother taken into consideration?

It is just very sad that politics and religion interfere needlessly with medical care in this day and age.

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