Update on Dominican Teen With Cancer

In July, I wrote about the complete abortion ban in the Dominican Republic that threatened the life of a pregnant 16 year old with cancer.  Somehow, I missed the fact that back in the middle of August, she died.

Doctors were hesitant to give her chemotherapy because such treatment could terminate the pregnancy — a violation of the Dominican Constitution, which bans abortion. Some 20 days after she was admitted to the hospital, she finally started receiving treatment.
She died Friday, a hospital official said.
At the time the treatment started, Rosa Hernandez, the girl’s mother, said she tried to convince doctors and the Dominican government to make an exception so that her daughter’s life could be saved.
“My daughter’s life is first. I know that (abortion) is a sin and that it goes against the law … but my daughter’s health is first,” Hernandez said.
The teen died from complications of the disease, said Dr. Antonio Cabrera, the legal representative for the hospital.
“They have killed me, I’m dead, dead. I’m nothing,” her mother said. ” She was the reason for my existence. I no longer live. Rosa has died. Let the world know that Rosa is dead.”
The patient was 13 weeks pregnant.
Her body rejected a blood transfusion and did not respond to the chemotherapy, and her condition worsened overnight, Cabrera said.
She then suffered a miscarriage early Friday, followed by cardiac arrest, and doctors were unable to revive her.
Representatives from the Dominican Ministry of Health, the Dominican Medical College, the hospital and the girl’s family had talked for several days before deciding to go forward with the chemotherapy.
The case sparked renewed debate over abortion in the Dominican Republic, with some lawmakers calling on officials to reconsider the abortion ban.

There is no way we can go back in time a determine whether or not this delay prevented the treatment from working. However, it is generally accepted that in many instances, especially in fast growing cancers, that the more quickly treatment is given, the better the prognosis.

This is what happens when religion inserts its nose into medicine. People die.


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