Friday, February 25, 2011

Health Care Reform-How Much is a Human Life Worth

Back in the Eighties I knew a young woman whose husband had left her pregnant, and alone, without the benefit of health insurance.

Understandably she was under extreme stress which did affect her pregnancy, and she did go into premature labor at twenty two weeks. The only hospital in her hometown that handled OB care was a Private One, which meant that they could turn her away for her inability to pay. The public hospital was not equipped with a maternity ward.

The young woman was looked at and told to go home and abort. Clinically that is the name for a miscarriage, but at twenty two weeks a fetus is viable, and this fetus still had a heartbeat. One city over was Trauma Center equipped to handle premature deliveries with a state of the art Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit.  Medications could have also been offered to the young woman to stop her labor as she was not dilated, only spotting. These options were not offered to her. She could not afford them.

Eight hours had passed. The young woman awoke to a pool of blood in her bed, and severe cramping. She called out to her Father.  Her Father took her back to the Private hospital, where else was there to go. Standing there with blood dripping down her legs, a Catholic Priest took pity on her and  secured a room for her.

Young, and frightened. She was placed in a cold room and put in stirrups. She was left alone. Nature took over, and the urge to push came over her and she followed her instincts without the benefit of any medical assistance. She could not afford any. After the third push, her son literally shot from her to the floor, still attached to the cord.

They eventually came in and asked her if she wanted them to throw her son into their furnace, explaining that is what they did with stillbirths born in poverty.

Do we want to revisit this era of Privatization, Greed and Inhumanity?

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