Dr. Ralph’s patient (2017) – USA

Miscarrying woman refused termination, forced to get very sick and suffer through prolonged labour

In early 2017, a woman arrived at Wheaton Franciscan-St. Joseph hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in labour. She was 18 weeks pregnant with twins. She miscarried one fetus within hours of admission, but the second still had a heartbeat. Because the hospital followed Catholic directives that prohibited termination until the patient hemorrhaged or showed at least two signs of infection (fever of 100.4 or higher, uterine tenderness, rapid heart rate, or rapid fetal heart rate), the woman’s pro-choice doctor, Jessika Ralph, could do little except watch her patient sicken.

After about 10 hours, the patient’s temperature soared to 102 or 103 degrees. Ralph and her team gave the patient medication to induce labour. But Ralph could not administer mifepristone, the most effective drug for such cases. The Catholic hospital didn’t carry the drug due to religious motivations, which needlessly prolonged the woman’s labour.

Although the patient wanted to continue her pregnancy if there was any chance it could be saved, she rapidly sickened. She and her family then pleaded with Dr. Ralph to speed up the process of ending her pregnancy, but Ralph felt powerless. The safest procedure for terminating a second-trimester pregnancy (D&E) was not offered at St. Joseph and no doctor there know how to perform it. For over 24 hours, the patient laboured through painful contractions. She bled heavily, requiring at least one blood transfusion. Her lips and face lost their colour. Finally, she delivered a fetus that had no hope of survival. The patient survived the ordeal.

Read full article: Catholic Rules Forced This Doctor to Watch Her Patient Sicken—Now, She’s Speaking Out. Rewire.