Skip to comments.Planned Parenthood Cited in RU-486 Death (Rule breach cited in woman's death)
Posted on 02/26/2004 6:36:56 PM PST by truthandlife
Planned Parenthood of Hayward failed to follow its own consent and information policies when it administered an abortion pill to 18-year-old Livermore woman Holly Patterson, according to a report from the California Department of Health Services released Tuesday.
Seven days later, Patterson died of septic shock caused by inflammation of the uterus.
The health department's investigation found that Patterson did not sign one of the three forms the clinic requires of patients seeking non-surgical abortion services. The state review also found that the clinic failed to provide Patterson with "full information and education on the procedure of self-administration of a drug intravaginally."
The state health department also cites ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton for failing to report an unusual occurrence following Patterson's death.
In a response to the state's report, Planned Parenthood said a counselor reviewed the three required forms with Patterson, but did not have her sign the clinic's "Request for Provision of Surgery or Other Special Services/Procedures" form.
The clinic says Patterson did sign an informed consent document prior to her abortion and said she was given "personal instruction" on how to take the drug.
The abortion procedure Planned Parenthood prescribed for Patterson included a two-drug regimen that began with the hormone mifepristone, which works on the lining of the uterus to end a pregnancy. Misoprostol then induces contractions which expel the embryo and tissue from the uterus. Patterson took the drug misoprostol vaginally at home.
The health department report said: "The written patient instruction provided to the patient (that was part of the medical record), did not have any evidence that the patient was instructed on a step-by-step procedure on how to self-administer the misoprostol. There was no instruction on handwashing prior to the insertion or that the tablets should be inserted with a bare or gloved finger or if the fingernails should be short or free of nail polish. These are simple measures to prevent infection."
In its response to the state report, Planned Parenthood said, "Patient A was told to wash her hands thoroughly before beginning insertion of the misoprostol ..."
The clinic said Patterson also received the written instruction sheet, "What to expect after taking mifepristone" that included instructions on the use of misoprostol.
"This material was reviewed with the patient and she took it home to use if she had questions," Planned Parenthood's report said.
State investigators also viewed an informational audiovisual tape used by the clinic, and found that the video did not have a demonstration of the proper at-home vaginal insertion procedure.
Planned Parenthood's written response said the videotape was only a supplement to the consent and information provided to Patterson.
In its plan of correction, Planned Parenthood outlined a change in policy that now requires a clinician to initial all three patient signatures, for women who are administered an early medical abortion.
A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman said the clinic's response was outlined in the written report to the Department of Health.
State investigators reviewed the medical records related to Patterson's case during a site visit Sept. 23 and interviewed workers at the facility.
The clinic's response also revealed that Patterson visited Planned Parenthood with "her partner" and that the couple spent more than two hours in consultation, watching a video and discussing the abortion procedure and Patterson's options.
Patterson visited ValleyCare Medical Center's emergency room in Pleasanton complaining of abdominal cramping and pain on Sept. 14, and doctors sent her home with pain relievers.
Patterson returned to ValleyCare's emergency room Sept. 17 because of nausea, vomiting and low blood pressure. She died that day at 1:52 p.m., hours after going into respiratory arrest.
ValleyCare disputes the report determination that the incident required notification to the department of health.
ValleyCare officials could not be reached for further comment Tuesday night.
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