Monday, March 04, 2013

Pet Peeve: Pro-Lifers Going Nuts Over Every Ambulance

I'm not going to post links to any specific stories because I don't want to encourage people who do this.

Pro-lifers really need to stop treating it as a breaking news story every time an ambulance pulls up to an abortion facility.

Calling an ambulance is not a sign of quackery. Trust me. I've been an EMT.

1. The person being loaded into the ambulance might not be a patient. People -- often elderly abortionists -- work at abortion facilities. Patients are accompanied by friends and/or family members. Even if the person on the gurney is a young woman, she might still be a staff member or somebody who accompanied a patient.

2. The person being loaded into the ambulance might not be all that seriously sick or injured. Doctors will often send a patient (who might not be an abortion patient; see #1) to the hospital by ambulance as a precaution if symptoms indicate that there might be a problem that the facility is ill-equipped to deal with.

3. An ambulance-worthy patient situation might not be the facility's fault. Women have shown up for abortions with some serious pre-existing conditions. There was a case in I believe Mississippi in which a woman showed up in an advanced state of pregnancy with symptoms of pre-eclampsia. The facility in question gave her RU-486 and sent her home. The responsible thing to do would have been to immediately call an ambulance -- which would have sent the prolifers into a tizzy of speculation and accusations of malpractice even though it would have just been the facility dealing appropriately with a pre-existing condition. A woman might also develop a complication that is an inherent risk of abortion or anesthesia for which calling an ambulance is totally appropriate.

Calling an ambulance is not a sign of quackery, or a sign that the facility is dangerous, or even that a woman has necessarily suffered an abortion complication. It could simply be a sign that the facility is simply following responsible protocols should a patient be in danger at any point, be it during the initial physical examination, during the abortion, or while in recovery. Yes, we'd prefer that they not be doing abortions. But it's not a sign that they're doing them carelessly if they call an ambulance just to be on the safe side.

So when that ambulance pulls up, by all means document the situation. But wait until you know what's going on before concluding that the staff had screwed up. And remember that we are to praise whatever is praiseworthy. If it turns out that Acme Reproductive Services called an ambulance because the patient Dr. Quacksalot sent to them actually has an ectopic pregnancy that is ready to rupture, they should be praised for doing right for that patient, not raked over the coals for suspected quackery.

1 comment:

Peetred said...

You are so right. An ambulance is not a sign that something has gone wrong. It is a sign that proper precautions are being taken.

It parallels to me of how homebirths that transfer to the hospital are often called "failed homebirths". No no! A transfer to the hospital is the way it SHOULD work. It's a sign that help is being sought when needed.