Kool Aid Blood
A poignantly honest social media post by an Emergency Room physician who "tells it like it is."
I guess I am mostly speaking to men here because most women know this. There are a TON of things that can go wrong in a pregnancy that can cost that woman or girl her life. But here are just a couple of examples from patients I have seen over the years:
I had a case years ago where a woman came in pale, sweaty, fast heart beat, with a positive pregnancy test and abdominal pain. I called OB/GYN early and got the ultrasound which confirmed that she had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy (this is a condition where the embryo has developed in the Fallopian Tube and has grown to the point where the tube has ruptured and now the patient is likely bleeding from an artery into her abdomen and pelvis).
I sent the patient to the Operating Room where she actually went into cardiac arrest on the table. They were able to get a pulse back quickly and GYN was able to complete the surgery. She miraculously survived with no neurologic deficits.
I had another case where a woman had an incomplete miscarriage and thus had what we call "retained products of conception." This can cause infection and massive bleeding. The cure is a D&C (dilation and curettage). Sometimes when someone is bleeding to death their blood becomes so thin that it changes viscosity and starts to look like watered down Cherry Kool Aid. Right before she went to the OR that’s what her blood looked like. As we were pumping someone else’s blood into her through an IV. That patient almost bled to death before OB/GYN could get her to the OR.
Some of these states are putting in abortion bans with no consideration for the safety or life of the woman. Or they put in stipulations that can slow the process down to the point of possibly costing the patient her life. As physicians they want us to question and second guess ourselves, possibly at the expense of a patient’s life. Here in Ohio it’s under threat of losing our medical licenses I believe. In other states it’s under the threat of being charged with manslaughter or homicide and possibly decades in prison.
For me this is an easy decision when it comes to the life of my patient. I will ALWAYS save the patient.
If I were to lose my license tomorrow I can live with that.
It would be a lot harder to live with the fact that I let someone die because I was scared of not being a licensed physician anymore.
But for OB/GYNs, who are the "last step" for these patients, the buck stops with them. They will be faced with having to make some very difficult decisions day in and day out.
The last thing we would want to see happen is a mass exodus of OB/GYNs from states that pass laws that make it difficult for them to treat their patients.
Who could blame them for wanting to leave?
Who would want to work in an environment where you have to choose between letting a patient die OR saving her life (but going to prison for breaking the law)?
To all my fellow physicians--especially those who work as Emergency Room physicians: you will want to refresh your "baby delivery skills" and expect to be using them soon as more and more doctors leave your state. Let's just hope nothing goes wrong.
I wish we could have some of the politicians who are making these decisions present when the next young woman rolls in---pale, sweaty, in pain, scared, and with Cherry Kool Aid for blood …… and let THEM tell her that her life is equally as important as the lump of tissue in her body that is actively trying to kill her.