Sunday, 24 May 2015

Turned Away in PEI

This is so fucked up, it's hard to know where to begin.

One rendition: A person waits 5 hours for treatment at a Canadian emergency department then is turned away with the words "we are not comfortable dealing with this situation."

Or: A person is turned away from a hospital emergency department and told to go to a clinic in ANOTHER PROVINCE.

Or: The Minister of Health looks into the situation and is satisfied that all protocols were followed.

Here's the story as reported in the media.

Here's the story as told by the woman herself, Courtney Cudmore, to As It Happens (at 9:50 mark), or from her Facebook page.

In Prince Edward Island, while it is part of Canada where abortion is legal, abortion is simply not done.

A PEI woman was unwillingly pregnant, found a doctor to prescribe LEGAL abortion drugs, listened carefully to the instructions, and took the drugs. The instructions included what to do if the drugs did not seem to be performing as expected: Go to a hospital.

The drugs did not perform as expected, and so the woman took herself to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital emergency department.

Well, they didn't seem to know quite what to do with her. A nurse got her to give a urine sample and that was it for about 5 hours.

Finally 7:00 pm.. I get called in... The nurse gives me a johnnyshirt to put on, Obviously Im getting examined. 45 minutes later Dr. Lantz comes in. With my chart ... Looks at my chart then looks at me and says... What would you like me to do.. Ohh I don't know check me out?! I told him why I came in. "Well I will go talk to the gynecologist and see what they say" 10 minutes later... "Well we are not comfortable dealing with this situation" What really... not comfortable... What the hell is going on inside of me... I'm thinking this in my head.... and staring at him. I ask ok what did my urine sample tell you?? Are my levels dropping?? "I don't know.. all I can tell you is you are still pregnant" ok so in that breath right there his job was to do a full examination on me. If I didn't pass everything which I'm sure I didn't .. Tha'ts going to cause bigger issues for me. But he did let me know I could go to a clinic in Halifax, They would have no issue helping me. After totally getting he wasn't going to help or find me help I asked him to leave so I could put my clothes back on. But I did thank him for wasting my time.

There just was an election held on the Island, where abortion was an issue.
P.E.I.’s four male political leaders provided their party’s policy on abortion services Tuesday during a forum on women’s issues where the last remaining variable was finally clarified. Liberal Premier Wade MacLauchlan said P.E.I. would continue to provide abortion services but only at a Halifax hospital. It’s the same policy followed by Premier Robert Ghiz so there is no change to the status quo.

When this story broke on social media on Thursday, the media got on it and the Health Minister was asked for a comment.

Health Minister Doug Currie says he was initially highly concerned when he received messages on social media, but after following up with officials at the hospital, says he feels all proper protocols were followed.

“I was reassured that no one was denied or turned away from the emergency room (Thursday) night,” Currie said.

“I was reassured that the standard quality of care was followed and I continue to be even more motivated to work with stakeholders to continue to remove current barriers that are facing Island women that are looking to access this service.”
No one denied or turned away? Is he calling Ms Cudmore a liar?

Standard quality of care followed? Being told "we are are not comfortable" and "go to Halifax" is "standard quality of care"?

Do PEI physicians not know how to treat miscarriage? Would a woman miscarrying "normally" also be refused treatment and sent to a clinic in Nova Scotia?

Is this not dangerous, patronizing, and, well, simply OUTRAGEOUS?

Not to mention a human rights violation and a pretty prima facie case of malpractice?

The reaction was swift. PEI Abortion Rights Network wrote an open letter.

A petition was begun to have Health Minister Doug Currie removed from his position.

Ms Cudmore plans to contact a lawyer.

What else can we do?

How about alerting potential PEI patients about the patronizing asshole doctor? Ms Cudmore names a "Dr. Lantz". It seems pretty clear that this is Chris Lantz, member of a "prominent" PEI family, and -- hey, look at this -- brother of the leader of the PC party, Rob Lantz.

And how does Rob Lantz feel about abortion?

PC Leader Rob Lantz did meet the group and assured them he will maintain the status quo. … Abortion is not on the PC radar, not in the platform and there are no plans to re-open the debate.

And we'd like to know the name of the gynecologist supposedly consulted by Dr. Lantz.

Here's Ms Cudmore from her Facebook page again:
I have gone to the media as most of you already know and I will be contacting a lawyer to take legal action against the hospital. I urge ALL women who have come across difficulty in support/access to proper health care regarding abortions to take a stand now!! Don't be silent anymore.. We have a right we have a choice. All we see and hear are people slamming abortion if we stand now just maybe we might get the access and rights we deserve. This is legal and as women living on PEI we have a right to choose what we do with our bodies. ‪#‎statusquonomore‬

In other momentous news from the Gentle Island, there is a bit of panic going on over metal objects found in potatoes.

Precious PEI potatoes VIOLATED!!!!!

Last word to unexpectedly prochoice Stats Can (which is a parody account just to forestall any idiotic screeching):

Image from @ProChoicePEI.

UPDATE (May 25/15): Statement from Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.

UPDATE (May 26/15): Another harrowing story of being turned away. How many more are there? How many more will there have to be?

UPDATE (May 30/15): A new blog, The Sovereign Uterus is collecting abortion stories from PEI women. To answer the question: How many more? A: Lots.

UPDATE (May 31/15): Halifax woman opens her home to PEI women needing abortion.


Gail Rhyno said...

Brilliant summary. As usual.

choice joyce said...

Excellent sleuthing fern!! This whole thing is just unbelievable. So glad things are blowing up in PEI. Let's hope a few heads roll.

Pseudz said...

May the other Grauniad pick this up - and/or Amnesty International.

Anonymous said...

A hilarious summary. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Cudmore a liar? Yes.
If Health PEI proved this, it'd be an invasion of privacy.
Definitely a win-win for Ms. Cudmore, unless she files lawsuit then its a lose-lose.

fern hill said...

@Anon at 22:48, I don't understand your point.

fern hill said...

Anonymous at 11:46: I did not moderate and publish your comment until 1:40 p.m. You have 6+ hours (until 8 p.m. EDT, today, May 26/15) to post a link to that allegation or your comment will be deleted.

Next, all forms of abortion are legal everywhere in Canada. They are just not done in precious PEI because of antediluvian attitudes, which will be overcome as soon as the old men get replaced.

fern hill said...

I changed my mind and deleted Anon at 11:46's comment. It was a comment about something Ms. Cudmore may have said, which would be totally irrelevant to what she ultimately decided to do.

I can find no basis whatsoever for the allegation and I'm deleting it before it gets legs.

Anon also asserted that surgical abortion is illegal in PEI, which any idiot knows is untrue.

Gail Rhyno said...

Guessing the poster is afraid of the patient/victim of filing a lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Woman opens home to women needing abortion from PEI

Anonymous said...

More on abortion in Canada:

geoff kiernan said...

It seems you have the same regard for a potato as you have for a human being.

fern hill said...

You must be a little high from your cilice tonight, ducky, or is this your normal level of reading comprehension?

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