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HEALTH

Doc charged after mum loses limbs after abortion

A gynecologist at a hospital in France has been charged this week for causing "unintentional injury" to a young mum, who had to have four limbs partially amputated following an abortion.

Doc charged after mum loses limbs after abortion
The young mum who lost four limbs after an abortion is fighting for justice. Photo: AFP

A family fighting for justice after a mum of three had to have four limbs partially removed following an abortion, received a boost this week when it was revealed a gynecologist had been charged over the accident.

A mother of three, Priscilla Dray was admitted to the maternity unit of Bordeaux University Hospital for the abortion in the summer of 2011.

The operation lasted several hours and on the Friday evening the 36-year-old shopkeeper was able to return home to her family.

But the day after the operation Dray began to suffer from pain and was running a high fever. She returned to the maternity ward where an on-call doctor took a blood sample, before sending her back home.

Dray’s condition continued to deteriorate however, and on Sunday morning she was diagnosed with septicemia. 

She was prescribed antibiotics and told to return to the maternity ward, where she arrived at around noon. 

But it appears she was given the antibiotics too late from them to work, and the infection took hold resulting in tissue necrosis and eventual amputation.

Dray had to have her feet, her right forearm and left hand amputated.

Four years after the horrific incident the family's battle for justice was given a boost this week when the doctor was charged with causing “unintentional injuries” to the patient.
 
According to legal expert Jean-François Lortie, specialist in medical accidents, the gynecologist should have administered antibiotics straight after the abortion.
 
It was Lortie's report that lead to the doctor being charged, but the gynecologist's own lawyer insisted that they will seek  counter expertise.
 
“This is a complex case. For me this is not about a criminal wrongdoing. There is a chain of responsibilities, which the investigation will have to determine,” said the doctor's lawyer.

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HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

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