Thursday, March 11, 2010

A grieving father's words to Angie the Abortion Tweeter

Open letter to live tweeting aborter Angie Jackson from father of teen who died from RU-486 abortion:

Jill Stanek got a letter from Monty Patterson, father of Holly Patterson, whose life was cut short at the age of 18 from a safe, easy chemical abortion. Mr. Patterson also provided a link to this Ladies' Home Journal article telling the family's story.

I'll give you a condensed version of what Holly's father had to say, then turn to the Ladies' Home Journal article for more salient points:

Dear Jill...

Angie Jackson's attempt to "demystify" medication abortions with pills can send the wrong message to women and young teens with respect to their health and well being.

Her message, "It's not that bad, it's not that scary, you too can have an abortion if you want one," approach is not always the case when it comes to terminating an unplanned pregnancy.

....

Let's not forget about what happened to 18-year-old Holly Patterson .... She died a tragic death after 7 days into her procedure. She was in perfect health and a pinnacle of fitness. ....

Try to imagine the thoughts that went through Holly's mind .... I'm positive all she could think about was the basic instinct to survive her hopeless ordeal. I'm sure it wasn't the information she had received from Planned Parenthood that the procedure was "a safe option for ending pregnancy in the privacy of your home and it comes in an easy-to-take pill form."

....

Angie is an adult who made a conscious decision based on the resources and information she obtained. To share her reality experience with others is exercising her rights of freedom of speech and press.

However, from a parent's perspective, she might be influencing teenagers, some as young as 14 years old, that it is simply "no big deal." It is a big deal....

....

Sincerely,

Monty Patterson


Now, to turn to some very interesting points from the Ladies' Home Journal article:

  • Holly's father never learned that his daughter had been pregnant, much less that she was undergoing a chemical abortion, until she was dying and he rushed to her side:

    Holly was worsening, she needed a ventilator, her blood pressure was dropping. He heard the panicked words "code blue!" and was hustled from the room. He stood outside the door with his fiancee, his son, Holly's only sibling, and her boyfriend. All of them were crying and calling out: "Don't give up! We love you, Holly!" Holly's mother, Debbie, who was long divorced from Patterson and lived in Southern California and whom he'd phoned earlier, was still on a plane. She would arrive too late.


    Mr. Patterson had known nothing about RU-486, nothing about abortion drugs. None of it had been on his radar until he watched his beloved only daughter die before his helpless eyes.

    So much for the idea that legal abortion doesn't affect you unless you personally get it into your head, on your own initiative, to participate.

  • Page two gives us more context on how the abortion drug regimen came to America. Most to the point, it describes the approved regimen that had been tested in Europe -- a regimen not followed by American practitioners, who cut corners.

  • Page 3 note, "Mifepristone has been called the "abortion pill," which makes it sound like a quick fix, but the reality is that it can cause a week or more of serious cramping and bleeding." (Angie the Abortion Tweeter found this out for herself.) Opponents of RU-486 had criticized the FDA's fast-tracking of the drug (approved in only 4 years, when it more typically takes 15 years to get a drug approved in the US). The chemical abortion regimen hadn't been tested on adolescent girls, who make up a significant proportion of abortion patients. And, of course, the specific regimen used in the US hadn't been tested. But the drug's defenders scoffed at these concerns.

    But in April 2002, both Danco Laboratories and the FDA had acknowledged some real problems with the drug. A small number of women had suffered ruptured ectopic pregnancies after mifepristone was used (inappropriately) for termination; one of them had died. In addition, a young woman with a family history of heart disease had suffered a nonfatal heart attack and two women had developed bacterial infections. One of those women, a 26-year-old participating in drug trials in Canada, had died (Canadian drug trials were halted afterward). And it wasn't at all clear that that was all. It's voluntary for physicians to report a patient's bad drug reaction to the FDA; moreover, when complications occur days afterward the connection isn't always made. The FDA itself has estimated that no more than 10 percent of all adverse drug effects are ever reported.


  • Page four notes that Monty Patterson, in his relentless research after his daughter's death, noticed something that was being glossed over by supporters of RU-486:

    One of the articles he read in a medical journal described the symptoms and rapid deterioration of the young woman who'd died during mifepristone drug trials in Canada. "I said, 'This sounds just like what happened to Holly!'" Patterson recalls. He began sending letters to the FDA and Department of Health and Human Services: Was what these studies claimed true? Why weren't patients warned of possible complications from the pill? Why hadn't the ER doctors who'd treated Holly known more? ....

    .... By April Patterson learned that Holly had died from a uterine infection that had flooded her system with toxins. By October the strain of bacteria had been identified: Clostridium sordellii.

    .... It's most commonly found in soil but for unknown reasons about 10 percent of women also harbor the bacteria in their intestinal and genital tracts. Normally it causes them no problems. But in just a handful of documented cases it has made its way to an internal organ, where it has flourished and produced toxins that have caused tissue death, affected the body's ability to maintain blood pressure, sent patients into shock, and killed them with frightening speed. A Clostridium sordellii infection can also fail to cause one of the cardinal signs of trouble that every emergency room doctor looks for -- a fever -- and its symptoms, such as abdominal pain and nausea, are the same as those to be expected after a medication abortion. ....
    Then came the real shocker: The rare bacterium responsible for Holly's death was the same one that had killed the Canadian woman in 2001.


    So Mr. Patterson was seeing happen with RU-486 patients with this type of infection the same sort of dynamic the CDC long noted with abortion patients who had ectopic pregnancies. Symptoms that should be cause for alarm and immediate treatment are dismissed as normal and expected lingering effects from the abortion. And since the underlying cause -- be it Clostridium sordellii or ectopic pregnancy -- isn't identified and treated, death results.

  • Page five notes:

    On November 15, 2004, the FDA announced it was strengthening the warning label for mifepristone in order to include new information on the risk of serious bacterial infections, sepsis, bleeding, and death and to advise physicians to watch patients carefully for signs of infection, excessive bleeding, and ectopic pregnancy.


    Closing the barn door after the horse escaped.

    And Monty Patterson managed to track down the mother of another RU-486 victim, Chanelle Bryant:

    Lynn Bryant's daughter, Chanelle, of Pasadena, California, had been 22, a third-year college student with plans to become a teacher, and like Holly had been vigorous and healthy when she became pregnant. Her fiance was in the Marines, and on January 8, 2004, she chose to terminate their unexpected pregnancy with mifepristone and misoprostol. On the 13th she went to a local emergency room with bad cramps. She called her mother to say that she'd been admitted to the hospital but conveyed no sense of urgency. She was still in pain the next morning, and her mother made plans to visit on her lunch hour. By noon Chanelle called to say the pain had become extreme, and by the time her mother arrived, after 1, she'd been moved to the critical care unit. "They told me that her vital signs had dropped and that she had an infection, but that they'd be on top of it shortly," Bryant recalls. Several hours passed and Chanelle's pain grew even worse. "I could barely stand to see it," she says. "Then she gathered her body in an inward position due to the pain and said, 'Hug me, Mommy.' As I laid her back, her eyes opened wide." Chanelle never regained consciousness. She was rushed to the operating room for exploratory surgery and died there. The FDA and CDC investigated her death. The cause: infection with Clostridium sordellii.


    Another deadly surprise brought to a family that no doubt believed that abortion would never touch them.

    The article also notes the deaths of Oriane Shevin and Vivian Tran from RU-486, but doesn't note the deaths of Cherish Roe, Tara Roe, and Wanda Roe, three more RU-486 victims.

  • Page six notes that Monty Patterson's research led him to believe that the abortion cocktail weakened some women's immune systems, making them vulnerable to Clostridium sordellii infection.

    It also raises this interesting bit of information:

    Michael F. Greene, MD, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School, in Boston, observed there was still "no clear pathophysiologic link" between mifepristone and the deaths of Holly and the other women -- though he did note that the risk of death from medication abortion was some 10 times greater than from surgical termination.


    Are women being told this as they're choosing between chemical abortion and surgical abortion? Abortion supporters frequently claim that childbirth is so much riskier than abortion, and use it to blow off abortion deaths as beneath their notice. But even using their flawed data, they can't claim that RU-486 abortions are safer than childbirth. If childbirth is a risky horror, chemical abortion is an equally risky horror. If RU-486 is a simple, safe means of dealing with pregnancy, so is childbirth. They can't have it both ways.

  • Page seven throws a bone to the abortion lobby by repeating the sweeping claim, "Supporters also note that statistically it's more dangerous to carry a pregnancy to term than to have any kind of abortion," without mentioning that even the rabidly pro-abortion CDC admits that at 16 weeks they measure abortion and childbirth to be equally risky, with the risks of abortion doubling every two weeks past the 16-week mark.

    But they don't shy away from the pain these chemical abortions caused these families:

    I've got to tell you: Watching Holly die the way she did, watching her suffer, watching her pain...I don't see how I can say this drug should stay on the market. ...."

    .... Meanwhile, the deaths of Holly Patterson, Chanelle Bryant, Oriane Shevin, Vivian Tran, and the Canadian woman whose name has never been released .... are tragedies that leave behind enduring grief and emotional wreckage. Three children are growing up without their mothers. Lynn Bryant still weeps when she talks of her youngest daughter's death and says she "misses her every day. She was my baby." Debbie Patterson keeps a shrine of Holly's photos. "I do not know the words to tell you what this is like," she says. "A piece of your heart is gone, and nothing, nothing, nothing can fill it."

    "I will always grieve Holly's death," says Monty Patterson. "I will never get over it."
  • 30 comments:

    L. said...

    RU-486 is actually not so easy to get -- I tried to get some to bring back to Japan with me, and found out that it is pretty tightly controlled, and only given in medically supervised circumstances (and I was in the ultra-liberal Bay Area). I did not try to order it on the Internet, though, which might have been possible, but seemed too scary.

    Follow-up is crucial, in cases of complications -- even if tragic outcomes are rare, no one wants them to happen. You know, I was thinking more about your circumcision post below, how it's really "no big deal" if there are no complications, but can be a VERY big deal if there are.

    GrannyGrump said...

    When I was considering oral surgery, my oral surgeon took the informed consent a step at a time and wanted me to sleep on every new possible complication he told me about, because, as he said, "It doesn't matter how rare it is because if it happens to you, it's 100%." I was really pissed off at the time because I'd wanted the surgery for ten years and when I found out I could get it I wanted to leap in and just get it done. Turned out that he was very wise (if annoying) in making me take the informed consent slowly and digesting it.

    Even after he'd told me about the risk of a permanently numbed lower lip, my initial response was, "Whatever. I can deal with that. Would you cut the crap and just DO MY SURGERY?" But going home and talking to my husband and thinking it over, I changed my mind, called my oral surgeon in the morning and told him never mind, I'd live without the surgery, thank you very much. And I never have regretted passing up the chance.

    My friend proceeded through the entire informed consent process, persisted in wanting the surgery, and went through with it knowing full well what she was getting herself into. She, too, was grateful for the involved informed consent process, because it meant that none of the unpleasantness or problems came as a surprise. She had gone into the whole thing aware of what she could expect, and prepared for it.

    I think about that every time somebody talks as if informed consent for abortion is somehow belittling or demeaning. If I can THINK I know I want surgery for ten freaking years, but change my mind once I realize what's really involved, how can we be so sure that a woman really would continue to want something she might have decided on only a day or so before if she was guided through a process designed, as my oral surgeon's informed consent process was, to present all the relevant information to the patient and give her time to digest it.

    Abortion is common enough that we have plenty of data on what regretful women wish they'd been informed of -- REALLY informed of, and given a chance to reflect on -- before the abortion. (And there's a huge difference between a quick, "This is a list of possible complications sign here" -- as cursory as the list of risks in a prescription medication ad, and probably just as easily blown off; versus talking to a patient and finding out if she's really hearing what you're saying (having her do a little reflective listening, then have her say how she thinks she'll cope. "Infertility? Well I have been trying for three years now to get my ob/gyn to tie my tubes!" For her, infertility will be no big deal. "Infertility? I --- I want to have kids some day. Now just isn't the time. And infertility is treatable, right? It doesn't mean you can't ever have a baby, right?" She's probably a poor candidate and needs more time to chew on the possibility that she might never be able to get pregnant again.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    Who needs RU486? Methotrexate is better and it's available everywhere.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Oh, yeah, methotrexate is a walk in the park!

    Let's see what Medline Plus has to say:

    "Methotrexate may cause very serious side effects. Some side effects of methotrexate may cause death. You should only take methotrexate to treat life-threatening cancer, or certain other conditions that are very severe and that cannot be treated with other medications. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking methotrexate for your condition."

    Oh, but I'm SURE that you abortionists have done proper clinical trials and gotten FDA approval for this off-label use of methotrexate! You'd never DREAM of using women as ginuea pigs for untested and dubious abortion regimens! Like Harvey Karman and Kermit Gosnell did with "Super Coils". Like all of you did with D&E. And D&X, while we're at it. Were the patients informed that those procedures were untested and that no studies had been done on complications?

    Katie said...

    Pro-abortionists don't WANT women to be fully informed of the risks of abortion. If they were, they might not abort, and then where would poor PP be? Every living baby is money an abortionist didn't get.

    Lola said...

    I thought you might be interested in this article:
    http://www.johntreed.com/abortion.html

    GrannyGrump said...

    Thanx, Lola. I'll turn it into a link.

    I just took umbrage at his misrepresentation of the stem cell brouhaha, and sent him a correction. We're all for stem cell research -- just for EFFECTIVE and ETHICAL stem cell research, rather than the tumor-producing embryo-gutting stem cell research the MSM are so enamored of.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    GG, methotrexate has been carefully tested in a host of FDA-approved clinical trials which you can easily look up.

    All those warnings refer to the high-dose regimen used for cancer. The abortifacient dose is a one-time dose consisting of the dose you get EVERY DAY FOR SEVERAL DAYS if you have cancer. The dose makes the poison (or in this case, the non-poison.)

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    Patients with rhumatoid arthritis take the abortifacient dose of methotrexate REGULARLY their WHOLE LIVES.

    GrannyGrump said...

    HAS IT BEEN APPROVED FOR ABORTION? Or is this another thing, like Super Coils, that seemed like a good idea at the time?

    GrannyGrump said...

    Patients with CRIPPLING arthritis can take methotrexate WHEN THEIR ARTHRITIS DOESN'T RESPOND TO OTHER DRUGS, and UNDER THE CAREFUL SUPERVISION OF A PHYSICIAN.

    Again: Is the use of methotrexate FOR ABORTION tested and approved? Or is it just the brainstorm of some abortionists who don't tell patients that there haven't been any clinical trials on the safety and efficacy of the regimen?

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    First of all, as you know quite well, when FDA approves a drug, you're allowed to use it for anything (except conditions which specifically contraindicate it) as long as the dose is lower than, or equal to the approved dose. Something like thirty percent of medicine consists of off-label uses of drugs.

    Secondly, there have been lots of systematic clinical trials of various methotrexate abortion regimens, with misoprostol and without, which you can easily look up. All you have to do is google!

    You are pretending to be dumber than you are. You really don't need to do this--your foolishness and your ignorance of medical matters are already impressive, without exaggeration.

    Kathy said...

    Being legally allowed to use a drug off-label, and ensuring that that drug is safe and effective for the off-label use are two different things.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    Yes, Kathy, that's why the academic docs have done so many clinical trials.

    We've been doing methotrexate abortions in USA for more than fifteen years now (longer if you count use of methotrexate against ECTOPIC pregnancies) and if there were problems we'd know. Like I said, some patients take this drug in this dose REGULARLY for their WHOLE LIVES. Its side-effects are as well-documented as any drug in history.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    Anyway RU486 kills approx one patient per MILLION procedures. I like those odds.

    Anyone who dies from RU486 is just very very unlucky. There's no cure for bad luck.

    GrannyGrump said...

    We've already discussed what bullshit those numbers are. And I've yet to meet an abortionist who wasn't perfectly comfortable with the risks HIS PATIENTS were taking. No skin off your ass if she dies as long as her family doesn't sue you, and if you spin a good enough story about amniotic fluid embolism (that good old standby), they won't. And if they start to sue, you just get Kathryn Colbert to (in her own words) "beat the shit out of this woman" (or in this case the dead woman's reputation) to get them to drop the suit.

    Ah, yes, the proud profession of Attorney to the Abortionists. Your life consists in "beating the shit out of" women to get them to drop malpractice suits. All done, of course (with proper catch in the voice) "for the women!"

    Kathy said...

    We've been doing methotrexate abortions in USA for more than fifteen years now (longer if you count use of methotrexate against ECTOPIC pregnancies) and if there were problems we'd know.

    Something about this reminds of the use of X-rays in pregnant women (which led to an increased risk of childhood leukemia for the fetuses so exposed), and the use of DES in prenatal vitamins (which led to an increased risk of vaginal adenocarcinoma and a whole host of reproductive problems in both male and female fetuses exposed to it in utero), and a lot of other drugs and procedures that were undertaken with great enthusiasm, used for years, and ultimately discarded when people started actually looking for risks.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    Kathy, those cases were how we LEARNED how (and why) to do clinical trials.

    Thalidomide was a long time ago.

    GG, re "I've yet to meet an abortionist who...."

    How many abortion docs do you know? Why would an abortion doc talk to you? Unlike you, I actually do know a fair number of abortion docs, and they tend to be just like other docs. Not better, not worse.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Fine, OC. I'll correct it and say "I've never LEARNED OF an abortionist who had any qualms about the risks HIS PATIENT was being subjected to." Not even the great and august Curtis Boyd, who at least had the decency, after one of his experimental abortions killed a woman, to publicize the risk.

    But again, I ask, do you and your fellow abortionists tell the patient when you're using her as a guinea pig? Or do you just charge ahead and figure that eventually your hunch that it's a hunky dory procedure will be vindicated?

    Kathy said...

    those cases were how we LEARNED how (and why) to do clinical trials.

    Oh, you mean like clinical trials before continuous electronic fetal monitoring in labor became the norm? Oops. No, that became the norm in the '80s because it sounded like a good idea at the time, and it is still around although studies have shown that cEFM in low-risk women does not lower the risk of perinatal death.

    Or maybe the use of Cytotec (misoprostol, miso) as a cervical ripener and induction starter. Oops, again! That was started without clinical trials, and it wasn't until several women with uterine scars had a uterine rupture (with or without fetal demise or neonatal injury and/or hysterectomy) that doctors finally discovered it was a bad idea to give it to VBACing women. This was just a decade ago.

    Of course, it also helps if the clinical trials aren't faked -- a lead researcher in Merck is being investigated for just that charge, in regards to Celebrex and other drugs.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    GG, what nonsense is this you're asking??? OF COURSE one tells the patient if one is using her for a clinical trial. Further: one ASKS HER PERMISSION.

    Bah. You have not done your background reading. Google up the methotrexate-abortion trials from the mid-to-late 1990s and read some of them. (You might even encounter my name if you search hard enough).

    GrannyGrump said...

    I'm not talking about patients in clinical trials, OC. I'm talking about when one of you abortionists gets an idea (like when Jim McMahon was developing "intrauterine cranial decompression").

    I've done my background reading, and have noticed a glaring absence of clinical trials for D&E, D&X, and methotrexate abortions. Gosh, it's hard to do background reading on an area where nobody published anything!

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    If you have "noticed" a "glaring absence" of trials of methotrexate abortion, then you have NOT done your background reading.

    Here, let me help you out. Start with these:

    (http)jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/jama%3B284/15/1948
    (http)linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/0010782496000807
    (http)linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0010782498001504
    (http)linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/001078249390079M
    (http)content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/333/9/537
    (http)www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8900553

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    Did you say something about "nobody publish[ing] anything"?

    GrannyGrump said...

    Gee, OC, you said abortionists have been using methotrexate for 15 years now. That's since 1995.

    Your first link is to clinical trials from 1998 to 1999. It's about tweaking a regimen that evidently had already been familiar.

    The second, third, and fourth ones require a subscription. Maybe you'd like to cut and paste the abstracts.

    The fifth one indicates that CLINICAL TRIALS were done on a limited number of women "selected ... on the basis of their general good health, emotional stability, and a pregnancy of 63 days or less in duration." But you indicated that the regimen had been in use for 15 years.

    Ditto for the last link.

    So it looks like what happened is that as soon as some abortionists began clinical trials, others just started using the regimen before waiting for the results to be in. Which is hardly surprising. D&E was in common practice before Boyd published his patient death and noted AFE and DIC as potential, lethal complications.

    Catch as catch can? Devil take the hindmost?

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    GG, nothing you have said contradicts my point which is that if you say there have not been published clinical trials of methotrexate abortion you are wrong and poorly read. Those articles I listed are just the first five I found by googling, took less than three minutes to find them.

    Some of the early mtx trials were done independently without anyone's approval. Richard Hausknecht (who has a few characteristics in common with the Emperor Napoleon) didn't bother going to committees or anything; he just went ahead and started offering methotrexate as part of his private practice because we'd been doing methotrexate abortions of ectopic pregnancies already for a decade or so. He took some heat in the academic community for this. Other docs like Schaff and Grimes and Darney criticized him and went through more formal channels. But underneath the formalities everyone knew it was unnecessary. The combination of data on RU486 from France and Asia plus previous use of methotrexate on ectopic pregnancies made success pretty much a given. (The ectopic experience showed that mtx works to kill the pregnancy, and the French RU486 experience showed the misoprostol worked to expel it.)

    I can tell you a big part of the motivation was the FDA having dragged their feet so long on RU486 under GHWBush. There were already plenty of good data from Europe and Asia which would have justified its approval even before Clinton took office, some folks like Hausknecht just decided no more waiting for them to do their job.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    You wanna know something I'd like to see more systematically investigated? Non-surgical sterilization by quinacrine.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    In any case, all Hausknecht's patients knew they were participating in trials. I mean he didn't just give it to them, he explained that it was an experimental procedure in USA, which most of them already knew.

    GrannyGrump said...

    Well that certainly makes Hausknecht, like Boyd, stand out among his fellow abortionists. I don't recall anything in Martin Haskell's D&X presentation about clinical trials or informed consent. Hern complained about the lack of clinical trials and was shut down. Hern gets shut down a lot.

    Let's see... my notes on Hausknecht:

    Suit by Stephanie O'Callaghan, age 42, alleged: 13 weeks pregnant, doctor's noted indicate Stephanie did not want abortion, her husband wished it; failure to inform of emotional risks; profuse vaginal bleeding post-abortion, bedridden two months with vaginal infection; suffered depression and despondence resulting in psychiatric hospitalization.

    News article alleged: Hausknecht got "tired of waiting" for Federal approval of RU-486, began experimenting on women, doing chemical abortion using two drugs, methotrexate and misoprostol, not approved as abortifacients, without FDA permission or oversight of research institution; Hausknecht allegedly charged $650 for each abortion using the drugs he said cost $6 per patient; advertised for subjects in newspapers.

    So he doesn't stand out THAT much.

    OperationCounterstrike said...

    Yep, there's no doubt medical abortions are overpriced. (So are most surgical abortions!)

    The potential of methotrexate is still not being fully realized. If you've only missed one period, you don't really need the misoprostol or the cramping and bleeding at all. Your fetus will come out with your next tampon. It's a morning-after pill you can take up to a month after unprotected sex.

    In the end, the cost of abortions will be folded into primary care, on a fee-per-patient-per-unit-time basis like an HMO rather than a fee-per-service basis. The Stupaks and Nelsons may be able to slow things down and put up barriers but the amount of money to be saved by including abortion in the collective category of medicine makes it inevitable.