The Texas Medical Association expressed concern to regulators about the potential risks to pregnant patients due to hospitals denying or delaying care due to concerns about the state’s abortion laws. Delayed care can lead to complications that may cause birth injuries or impact the patient’s health.
Why are some hospitals delaying or denying care and how may this put patients at risk?
Reasons hospitals have delayed or denied care
Patients have complained to the Texas Medical Board that hospital administrators and legal teams denied or delayed care for patients with pregnancy complications. The alleged reason for these delays and denials of care is that hospitals have concerns about the potential repercussions of providing abortions to patients with complications such as ectopic pregnancies.
Additionally, some hospitals have concerns about stabilizing treatments for preeclampsia or hypertension. Doctors who perform abortions that are not legally permitted under the state’s abortion restrictions may face large fines and jail time.
Potential impact of delays or denials of care
Delaying or denying care to a person with pregnancy complications can lead to serious health risks for both the pregnant person and the fetus. In some cases, patients accuse doctors of intentionally waiting for a medical condition to worsen before providing treatment so that the doctor can justify the legal need for the treatment.
Even though Texas law makes exceptions to the abortion restrictions when the pregnant person’s life is in danger, determining the exact point at which a medical condition is severe enough to qualify creates fear and uncertainties for some medical providers. However, medical providers who fail to provide adequate care because of these fears may be guilty of negligence or malpractice.