Start your training now for complications of back-alley abortions

LETTER — Posted Oct. 17, 2005

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Regarding "How will justice nominee shape abortion debate?" (Article, Sept. 12): John Roberts has now been approved by the Senate as the new chief justice of the Supreme Court. And I have every expectation that it is now only a matter of time -- perhaps just a few years -- until Roe v. Wade is overturned.

That being the case, and as an ob-gyn physician who must cover the hospital emergency department for unassigned and indigent patients, I have been asking various medical professional organizations for some help.

We ob-gyns -- the vast majority of whom, like myself, began our education and training in the years after abortion rights became recognized -- need to learn how to diagnose and manage complications of self-induced and "back alley" abortions. We need this additional education now, not after women begin seeking our care for these problems.

Some of us will, in the not-too-distant future, I think, be sitting in a courtroom answering an attorney's questions as to how we learned to manage such complications and what our experience was with them with the response: "Uh, ... well, actually, I never learned how to do it, and this was my first case."

Tim Gorski, MD, Arlington, Texas

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/10/17/edlt1017.htm.

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