Four doctors found guilty of manslaughter for the death of Valentina Milluzzo in 2016, who had been 19 weeks pregnant with twins

SOURCE: La Sicilia
28 October 2022   
(translated from Italian)

Three doctors were acquitted, and four were sentenced to six months each for manslaughter, though with suspended sentences. This was the verdict of the Criminal Court of Catania in the trial of seven doctors from the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Department of the Cannizzaro Hospital, concerning the death of Valentina Milluzzo, a 32-year-old woman hospitalised in her 19th week of pregnancy, who died on 16 October 2016, after having lost, as a result of two separate miscarriages, the twins she was expecting thanks to assisted fertilisation.

Acquitted, on the grounds that "the facts do not exist" (to find them guilty), were Paolo Scollo, Head Doctor of the Gynaecology and Obstetrics Department, Andrea Benedetto Distefano, the ward doctor, and Francesco Paolo Cavallaro, the anesthesiologist.

Sentenced to six months each in prison, suspended, were the doctors Silvana Campione, Giuseppe Maria Alberto Calvo, Alessandra Coffaro and Vincenzo Filippello, who were "on duty in the ward and in the delivery room, on alternating shifts" between 15 and 16 October 2016. The Court also ordered the payment of a provisional amount of € 30,000 to the victim's sister, Angela Maria Milluzzo, who had become a civil party in the suit, assisted by lawyer Salvatore Catania Milluzzo.

According to the prosecution, the four doctors were guilty of "contributing, in cooperation between them, to the death of the pregnant woman" who had been hospitalised because of the serious risk during the miscarriage of her twin pregnancy.

The Public Prosecutor's Office accused the four doctors of "professional negligence" due to "imprudence, negligence and incompetence". In particular, "the failure to implement adequate antibiotic therapy" on both the 14th and 15th of October, "the failure to promptly recognise sepsis in progress", "the failure to collect samples for microbiological examination", "the failure to promptly remove the source of the infection: the fetuses and placentas" and "the failure to administer blood transfusion during surgery".

All the above described events, said the Public Prosecutor of Catania, would have caused the “transformation of sepsis into irreversible septic shock with consequent multiple organ failure and disseminated intravascular coagulation", which caused the death of the patient.

It was not disputed in the trial that the doctors were conscientious objectors. The case was also handled by the Ministry of Health, which sent inspectors to Cannizzaro Hospital.

Source: https://www.lasicilia.it/cronaca/news/catania-3-medici-assolti-e-4-condannati-per-la-morte-di-valentina-alla-19-settimana-di-gravidanza-1934813/


‘Am I a Felon?’ The Fall of Roe v. Wade Has Permanently Changed the Doctor-Patient Relationship

BY ABIGAIL ABRAMS
 OCTOBER 17, 2022

A few days after the Supreme Court eliminated the constitutional right to abortion in June, Dr. Mae Winchester got a call late at night. One of her patients had developed sepsis after her water broke at 19 weeks of pregnancy. Sepsis can be fatal, and normally Winchester, a maternal-fetal medicine physician in Ohio, would rush her patient into the operating room and provide an abortion. But this time, she felt she had to call her hospital’s lawyers first.

The lawyers agreed that treating this patient with an abortion would be legal under Ohio’s new abortion ban, which contained an exception to prevent the death of the mother. But in other cases, Winchester says care has been delayed, or the lawyers have disagreed with her, and she hasn’t been allowed to provide the care she deems necessary. “Meanwhile, the patient is just sitting in the operating room by herself,” Winchester says, “not knowing what I can do.”

Continued: https://time.com/6222346/abortion-care-after-roe-doctors-lawyers/


‘At death’s door’: abortion bans endanger lives of high-risk patients, Texas study shows

In a preview of what’s to come in half the country, a near-total ban has led some providers to deny care until mothers’ health deteriorated

Mary Tuma
Wed 13 Jul 2022

Facing a rupture of membranes before fetal viability – a condition in which water breaks too early – a pregnant patient in Texas desperately needed an abortion. She risked infection, sepsis, excessive bleeding and even death.

But her healthcare provider’s hands were tied by Senate Bill 8, a near-total ban in effect since September 2021, preventing her from accessing that potentially life-saving care in her home state. Despite the risk associated with air travel, she boarded a plane to obtain the procedure out of state. Her obstetrician cautioned that she could go into labor in-flight and give birth to a stillborn 19-week fetus. “If you labor on the plane, leave the placenta inside of you,” the doctor warned.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/13/texas-abortion-ban-maternal-health-risk


Poland has some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Izabela Sajbor’s family say those laws are responsible for her death

By Saskya Vandoorne and Melissa Bell, CNN
Wed June 29, 2022

Warsaw, Poland (CNN) Izabela Sajbor knew for weeks that the baby she was carrying was unlikely to live long. On September 22 last year, she realized both their fates were sealed.

"I hope I won't get sepsis because then I won't leave this place," the 30-year-old wrote in a series of distraught text messages to her mother, just 12 hours before she died.

https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/28/europe/poland-abortion-law-izabela-sajbor-death-intl-cmd/index.html


Don’t Trust DIY Abortion Advice on TikTok. These are the risks involved.

By Julia Craven
May 23, 2022

Scouring the internet for answers on “how to have an abortion at home” will dredge up answers that read like school-bus gossip: Some, like douching with Coca-Cola or taking a lot of vitamin C, are unlikely to be life-threatening, but they’re also extremely unlikely to end your pregnancy.

Other methods are blatantly unsafe. They include inserting anything into the vagina, which poses a high risk of infection and sepsis; ingesting toxic substances such as turpentine, bleach, and other household chemicals; and any type of physical trauma, such as hitting oneself in the abdomen or throwing oneself down the stairs. “These are all things that people heartbreakingly try to do to end their pregnancies due to lack of access to clinical care, or lack of information or awareness of safer methods,” says Heidi Moseson, a senior research scientist at Ibis Reproductive Health.

Continued: https://www.thecut.com/article/diy-abortion-what-it-is-and-its-risks.html


Why Was a Catholic Hospital Willing to Gamble With My Life?

Feb. 25, 2022
By Katherine Stewart

More than 20 states are poised to ban or severely restrict abortion if the Supreme Court decides to overturn or undermine Roe v. Wade this year. We know these laws and regulations will have a devastating effect on women’s rights and liberty, but many people do not realize how deeply they will reach into maternal medicine. You can’t take away the right to abortion without risking the health and lives of all women who become pregnant.

We can get a sense of why this is so by taking a look at the Catholic hospital systems. All Catholic health care facilities, including hospitals and clinics, and many affiliated providers are governed by the Ethical and Religious Directives, a numbered set of rules that apply Catholic doctrine to health care. These directives, which act as guidelines and impose limitations on the types of services and procedures these facilities are able to deliver, are codified by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/opinion/sunday/roe-dobbs-miscarriage-abortion.html


Poland: “Not One More”. One year after the illegitimate abortion ban

Feb 9, 2022

NOT ONE MORE
One year after the illegitimate ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal
Federa will not leave any woman alone

One year has passed since the most brutal attack on women’s rights in modern Polish history. A year of pain, terror, and suffering for thousands of women.

From the very announcement of the ruling of the flawed Constitutional Tribunal the Federation for Women and Family Planning has warned that the ban on abortion would result in the deaths of patients and, unfortunately, our predictions came true.

Continued: https://en.federa.org.pl/anniversary-of-the-ct-abortion-ban/


Family blames pregnant woman’s death on Poland’s anti-abortion law

The Associated Press
Monday, January 31, 2022

WARSAW, POLAND -- Prosecutors in southern Poland are probing the death of a 37-year-old woman in a hospital who had been pregnant with twins, a situation in which her family and women's rights groups blame Poland's strict anti-abortion law, alleging it fatally delayed doctors' decision to terminate the pregnancy.

Prosecutors in Katowice said Monday they were awaiting the results of three autopsies to determine the cause of the Jan. 25 death of the woman, identified only as Agnieszka T., and the late December deaths of her two fetuses, after which the pregnancy was terminated.

Continued: https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/family-blames-pregnant-woman-s-death-on-poland-s-anti-abortion-law-1.5761561


How a Young Woman’s Death Led Me to Fight for Sexual and Reproductive Health Care for All

Dr. Melusi Dhlamini shares why he is an activist for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

By Dr Melusi Dhlamini
December 10, 2021

Dr. Melusi Dhlamini is a sexual and reproductive health care provider in South Africa and was named as one of the Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South Africans in 2020.

I was born in the small rural town of Sannieshof, South Africa, in February 1988. I spent most of my early life, until the year I matriculated, between my birth town and Rustenburg.

Raised by my mother and aunt, I became a social justice activist whose values are rooted in intersectional feminism and what it aims to achieve. My activism is underpinned by a desire for gender equality and a world in which your gender and its various expressions; race; and social and economic standing do not negatively affect you. And I carry this into my work every day as a sexual and reproductive health care provider.

Continued: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/dr-melusi-dhlamini-sexual-reproductive-health-care/


Poland – What it’s like to live in a country with a near total ban on abortion

As the US teeters on the brink of outlawing abortion, an expert from Poland explains the practical and emotional consequences of such a ban

Katarzyna Wężyk
7 December 2021

openDemocracy asked me, as a Pole and the author of a book about abortion, to describe what it's like to live in a country with restricted reproductive rights.

In short: it’s lonely, humiliating, dangerous to life and health, and it undermines the rule of law. And it’s expensive.

Continued: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/live-in-a-country-near-total-ban-abortion/