Monday, September 17, 2007

Anniversary: The death of Holly Patterson

Holly Patterson, age 18, died September 17, 2003, from sepsis caused by a fetus incompletely expelled in a chemical abortion. Holly got the drugs for the fatal abortion at a Planned Parenthood in Hayward, California, on September 10.

Rather than follow the recommended protocols for chemical abortions, Planned Parenthood followed the more popular American approach of giving Holly the mifepristone at the facility, then giving her misoprostol to self-administer vaginally at home.

Holly had experienced severe cramping and pain, and went to the emergency room. She was examined, given pain medication, and discharged. At her boyfriends insistence, she returned to the emergency room on September 17, but by then her condition had deteriorated and efforts to save her were futile.

Monty Patterson, Holly‘s father, told the San Francisco Chronicle, "The medical community treats this as a simple pill you take, as if you're getting rid of a headache. The procedure, the follow-ups, it's all too lackadaisical. The girl gets a pill. Then she's sent home to do the rest on her own. There are just too many things that can go wrong."

For an extensive, in-depth look at Holly's death and the surrounding political firestorm, see: The Making of a Martyr, Holly Patterson‘s death.

Three other women were identified as having died of infection deaths after RU-486 deaths in the Los Angeles area: Chanelle Bryant, Oriane Shevin, and Vivian Tran. Chanelle got her abortion drugs at a Planned Parenthood, and Oriane and Vivian got theirs from National Abortion Federation members.



For more abortion deaths, visit the Cemetery of Choice:



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8 comments:

Alexandra said...

Rather than follow the recommended protocols for chemical abortions, Planned Parenthood followed the more popular American approach of giving Holly the mifepristone at the facility, then giving her misoprostol to self-administer at home.

I was under the impression that taking the second course of pills vaginally rather than bucally, and not merely the self-administration, was the 'off-label' practice.

I tried to google this but I'm not very good at it. The FDA page says that the second dose should be taken orally, and that it has not established the safety/effectiveness of taking it vaginally; but it doesn't mention taking them in the presence of a doctor. Who is it that sets the 'recommended protocols' for things like this? I don't know much about the subject.

GrannyGrump said...

Thanks for pointing that out. I added "vaginally".

sarah said...

I don't know who sets the protocols.

In the UK both mifepristone (the first pill that you take) and misoprostol (the second drug that you take) are used off label for abortion.

Searle, the makers of misoprostol, (brand name is Cytotec), issued a warning letter in August of 2000 and sent it to all abortion providers in America.

http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2000/cytote.htm

August 23, 2000

Re:Cytotec® (misoprostol)


IMPORTANT DRUG WARNING
CONCERNING UNAPPROVED USE OF INTRAVAGINAL
OR ORAL MISOPROSTOL IN PREGNANT WOMEN
FOR INDUCTION OF LABOR OR ABORTION
Dear Health Care Provider:

The purpose of this letter is to remind you that Cytotec administration by any route is contraindicated in women who are pregnant because it can cause abortion. Cytotec is not approved for the induction of labor or abortion.

Cytotec is indicated for the prevention of NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin)-induced gastric ulcers in patients at high risk of complications from gastric ulcer, e.g., the elderly and patients with concomitant debilitating disease, as well as patients at high risk of developing gastric ulceration, such as patients with a history of ulcer.

The uterotonic effect of Cytotec is an inherent property of prostaglandin E1(PGE1), of which Cytotec is stable, orally active, synthetic analog. Searle has become aware of some instances where Cytotec, outside of its approved indication, was used as a cervical ripening agent prior to termination of pregnancy, or for induction of labor, in spite of the specific contraindications to its use during pregnancy.

Serious adverse events reported following off-label use of Cytotec in pregnant women include maternal or fetal death; uterine hyperstimulation, rupture or perforation requiring uterine surgical repair, hysterectomy or salpingo-oophorectomy; amniotic fluid embolism; severe vaginal bleeding, retained placenta, shock, fetal bradycardia and pelvic pain.

Searle has not conducted research concerning the use of Cytotec for cervical ripening prior to termination of pregnancy or for induction of labor, nor does Searle intend to study or support these uses. Therefore, Searle is unable to provide complete risk information for Cytotec when it is used for such purposes. In addition to the known and unknown acute risks to the mother and fetus, the effect of Cytotec on the later growth, development and functional maturation of the child when Cytotec is used for induction of labor or cervical ripening has not been established.

Searle promotes the use of Cytotec only for its approved indication. Please read the enclosed updated complete Prescribing Information for Cytotec.

Further information may be obtained by calling 1-800-323-4204.

Michael Cullen, MD
Medical Director, U.S.
Searle

sarah said...

Holly died from sepsis caused by a clostridium sordelli infection. She had 'atypical' signs of infection, she did not have a high temperature.

sarah said...

C.sordelli is a pretty rare pathogen. I think at least two, (maybe more?) of the American women, and one Canadian women died from C.sordelli infection after taking RU486.

the Mom said...

I have taken mifepristone to induce labor (our sweet baby girl had died of natural causes), and know first hand that it is a terrible drug to take. The labor is a far cry from a regular labor. It is painful and bloody and frightening. I was 32. I can't imagine being given that drug and sent home to cry and hurt and bleed and try and hide it from my mother.

GrannyGrump said...

(((the mom)))

It must have been especially horrible to be put through an agonizing artificial labor when your child had already died and your heart was so broken. The only thing that makes labor endurable is knowing that you'll soon be holding your baby.

*M3M3 *S said...

ITS CRAZY HOW ONE DAY YOUR LIVING A GOOD LIFE AND HAVING A GREAT TIME WITH YOUR LOVED ONE'S AND THEN ONE DAY THERE JUST BLOWN AWAY BY A CARLESS MISTAKE MADE BY CLINICS OR DOCTORS. HOLLY SUFFERED, AND FINALLY WENT TO THE HEAVENS WITH GOD. EVEN THOUGH SHE MIGHT BE GONE SHE LEFT WITH A STORY THAT WILL CHANGE TEENAGERS AND WOMEN'S LIVES. MAY YOU REST IN PEACE HOLLY PATTERSON. HOPEFULLY PEOPLE WILL READ YOUR STORY AND REALIZE THAT THEY CAN'T EVEN DEPEND ON CLINICS OR EVEN DOCTORS.