Anna Parzyńska, a gynecologist, spoke on TVN24 about the situation of doctors after the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal under the leadership of Julia Przyłębska on abortion. – We can’t offer the patient a choice. We can say that, according to the law, she is obliged to terminate the pregnancy – she emphasized. She reported that her patients “are afraid and cannot imagine being pregnant at this moment”.
In the fifth month of pregnancy, 30-year-old Izabela died in a hospital in Pszczyna due to sepsis. A day before her death, she wrote to her mother that she was afraid for her life. “The baby weighs 485 grams. For now, thanks to the abortion law, I have to lie down. And there is nothing they can do. They’ll wait until it dies or something starts, and if it doesn’t, I can expect sepsis. They can’t speed it up. It must either stop beating or not. something has to start “- was the sent message.
According to the family representative, the doctors waited for the fetus to die by itself, without taking any actions that could save the woman’s life. Hospital on Friday suspended the doctorswho were on duty during the stay of a pregnant 30-year-old girl. There is an ongoing debate as to whether the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal on abortion, issued last October, could have contributed to this situation.
The patient’s well-being is the priority. “But we all have a self-preservation instinct”
The gynecologist, doctor Anna Parzyńska, talked about the case from the doctor’s perspective on TVN24.
When asked what other doctors were saying about the case, she replied that her friends were “shocked”. – Each of us thinks a bit that it was predictable – she emphasized. She explained that it was about “the criminal liability that is imposed on doctors and the pressures they have to work under following the October 22 judgment last year”.
When asked if now doctors – when carrying out an abortion in a situation where a woman’s life is at risk – think more about the patient or about criminal liability, Parzyńska replied that in her opinion the patient’s well-being and health were still in the first place.
– But each of us has a self-preservation instinct and unfortunately, we are not able to turn off the passage that tells us that if we make such a decision, we may face criminal liability – she noted. She called it “a difficult point in the decision-making process” because – as she explained – doctors, guided by the good of the patient, sometimes risk their own future. – Unfortunately, it is connected. I think no one is able to separate it – she assessed.
“If ending pregnancy is a way to save the patient’s life, there is no discussion.”
How has the situation of gynecologists and obstetricians changed after the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of October 22 against pregnant women? – When it comes to termination of pregnancy in Poland, it has always been a very difficult situation, both for patients and doctors – she assessed.
– When it comes to doctors, there was a group that accepted the patient’s decision and helped. There was also a group that disregarded the conscience clause and distanced themselves from the topic. When it comes to the current situation, the group that previously helped and was in favor of the patient’s decision, unfortunately at this point, if a fetal abnormality is diagnosed, we cannot offer the patient a choice – she said. – We can’t put the decision in her hands. We can say that, according to the law, she is obliged to terminate a pregnancy, regardless of the further fate of the fetus: whether it will die intrauterine or after childbirth – she described.
What if the patient’s life is at risk? – Then there is absolutely no discussion and if the termination of pregnancy is a way to save the patient’s life, then there is no discussion here: we are saving the patient – she replied.
The gynecologist denied that the limit when saving a patient’s life would be easy to define. – As for septic shock, it is a disease that develops very quickly. Here it is very difficult to catch the moment when it is too late – she explained.
She sensitized that “one should not wait until the final moment when we fail to save” the life of a pregnant patient. In her opinion, the outflow of amniotic fluid, which is what happened in the case of Mrs. Izabela, “certainly posed a health threat to the continuation of pregnancy”.
Gynecologist: my patients are afraid, they cannot imagine being pregnant at this moment
At the end of the interview, the doctor was asked if the situation in Poland could influence women’s decisions about getting pregnant. “Definitely yes,” she replied.
She described that she herself received messages from patients “that they are afraid and cannot imagine being pregnant at this point”. – Pregnancy is both a stressful and a beautiful event in a woman’s life, but at this point an additional burden, lack of trust, unfortunately also in relation to doctors, as well as lack of security on the part of the state, causes paralysis and the fact that patients do not want or are afraid – she said.
She added that she was also concerned about her daughters’ upbringing and about their future in such a country. “The mood when it comes to family planning is on a very sad level,” she admitted.
On Saturday, protests after the death of Izabela are held in over 70 cities in Poland. Manifestations will pass under the slogan “Not one more”.
Main photo source: TVN24 archive