Archive | 10:07 pm

dilation and evacuation

16 Jul

D & E.  a.k.a. a surgical abortion.

I have a feeling a good number of readers are not going to like this post very much–come to think of it, I don’t think any readers are going to like this post.  Pro-choice, pro-life, ambivalent–no one is pro-abortion.  It sucks.

To make myself clear, what I’m about to write is not about my political opinion, only one experience.

I scrubbed into my first dilation and evacuation last week.  It was my choice to be there, I was under no obligation and I felt no pressure–well, I suppose I did feel some obligation, but it was entirely self-imposed.  As someone who is interested in this field, I think I owe it to the patients to be educated on the medicine.

The OR was peaceful but a little sad.  Everyone was respectful and considerate to one another.  There were no frustrations or irritations, no one felt hurried.

The procedure was impeccably clean and thorough.  The removal of the contents of the uterus was more challenging than I thought it would be to watch, though I’m sure far easier than it would have been to observe the D & E from earlier that day of an anencephalic fetus (one without a brain).  At this stage in the pregnancy, the “products of conception,” as we call them, looked like unorganized soft tissue–but I didn’t look all that closely.

The physicians in the room were everything a patient would want.  They were supportive without any judgment.  They listened and acknowledged that patient’s concerns.  They showed absolutely no agenda.  They provided excellent patient-centered care.  One of them told me about an experience he had one with a patient who chose to have a criminal abortion and presented to him in severe septic shock.  He decided then that he would not let that happen to another patient of his.  He’s received death threats; he’s been physically assaulted.  He could have retired by now, but he hasn’t.