How Texas abortion law turned a pregnancy loss into a medical trauma : Shots

Elizabeth and James Weller at their home in Houston two months after losing their baby girl due to a premature rupture of membranes. Elizabeth could not receive the medical care she needed until several days later because of a Texas law that banned abortion after six weeks.

Julia Robinson for NPR


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Elizabeth and James Weller at their home in Houston two months after losing their baby girl due to a premature rupture of membranes. Elizabeth could not receive the medical care she needed until several days later because of a Texas law that banned abortion after six weeks.

Julia Robinson for NPR

New, untested abortion bans have made doctors unsure about treating some pregnancy complications, which has led to life-threatening delays and trapped families in a limbo of grief and helplessness.

Elizabeth Weller never dreamed that her own hopes for a child would become ensnared in the web of Texas abortion law.

She and her husband began trying in late 2021. They had bought a house in Kingwood, a lakeside development in Houston. Elizabeth was in graduate school for political science, and James taught middle-school math.

The Wellers were pleasantly surprised when they got pregnant early in 2022.

In retrospect, Elizabeth says their initial joy felt a little naive: “If it was so easy for us to get pregnant, then to us it was almost like a sign that this pregnancy was going to be easy for us.”

Things did go fairly smooth at first. Seventeen weeks into the pregnancy, they learned they were expecting a girl. They also had an anatomy scan, which revealed no problems. Even if it had, the Wellers were determined to proceed.

“We skipped over the genetic testing offered in the first trimester,” Elizabeth says. “I was born with a physical disability. If she had any physical ailments, I would never abort her for that issue.”

Elizabeth thought of abortion rights in broad terms: “I have said throughout my life I believe that women should have the access to the right to an abortion. I personally would never get one.”

And at this particular point in her life, pregnant for the first time at age 26, it was still somewhat abstract: “I had not been put in a position to where I had to weigh the real nuances that went into this situation. I had not been put in the crossroads of this issue.”

But in early May, not long after the uneventful anatomy scan, the Wellers suddenly arrived at that crossroads. There they found themselves pinned down, clinically and emotionally, victims of a collision between standard obstetrical practice and the rigid new demands of Texas law.

It was May 10, 2022. Elizabeth was 18 weeks pregnant. She ate a healthy breakfast, went for a walk outside and came back home.

In the nursery upstairs, they had already stashed some baby clothes and new cans of paint. Down in the kitchen, images from recent scans and ultrasounds

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Trauma amid overall health treatment personnel similar to that of battle vets

As Covid cases surged throughout the U.S. in spring 2020, comparisons had been routinely built concerning war zones and hospitals in a point out of chaos.

Well being treatment workers of any specialty — from urologists to plastic surgeons — ended up recruited to assistance with the tsunami of extremely ill sufferers. Intense care experts had been unable to help save lives. Numerous 1000’s of clients died alone without the need of loved ones simply because hospitals barred guests. And workers were being continuously terrified that they, much too, would get ill or infect their family members.

Whole protection of the Covid-19 pandemic

The war zone comparisons may perhaps not have been far off the mark: In a analyze posted Tuesday in the Journal of Normal Inner Medicine, scientists described that the stages of psychological health distress felt by physicians, nurses, initially responders and other health treatment staff early in the pandemic were similar to what’s found in soldiers who served in fight zones.

What wellbeing care employees faced early in the pandemic is a variety of write-up-traumatic anxiety known as “ethical personal injury,” claimed Jason Nieuwsma, a medical psychologist at Duke College University of Medication in Durham, North Carolina, and author of the new report.

Moral damage can manifest in distinct techniques, including emotions of guilt or shame just after possessing participated in an terribly higher-anxiety scenario that necessary instant and often life-or-dying determination-building. It can also manifest as emotions of betrayal.

For battle veterans, such scenarios are simple to visualize.

“You can visualize, for instance, a battle condition exactly where potentially a support member fired on a motor vehicle that failed to cease at a checkpoint only to locate out there were being civilians in there,” Nieuwsma reported.

For overall health treatment workers, moral injuries stemmed from remaining not able to offer satisfactory treatment to dying patients and to viewing some others all-around them flagrantly refuse to get ways to slow the spread of the virus.

In the study, Nieuwsma, along with colleagues at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Vanderbilt College Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, surveyed 2,099 professional medical staff, comparing their responses to those of 618 overcome veterans who served following 9/11.

The worst is people overtly expressing mistrust of the medical and scientific neighborhood after everything we’ve completed for them.

The survey incorporated anonymous responses from wellness treatment employees.

The study discovered one particular certain type of moral injury — betrayal — was noted between 51 percent of surveyed wellbeing care workers, as opposed with 46 percent of veterans.

In hospitals, these feelings of betrayal resulted from looking at communities willfully disregarding mitigation steps, as very well as a reduction of have confidence in, specifically in authority figures, who ended up intended to keep staff protected.

“The worst is persons overtly expressing mistrust of the healthcare and scientific community just after almost everything we have accomplished for them,” just one health treatment worker wrote.

It is “incredibly challenging to work in health care

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Filipino American caregivers reflect on COVID trauma and healing : Shots

Left to right: Filipino American health care workers Karen Cantor, Karen Shoker, and John Paul Atienza were among many who cared for COVID patients in the early days of the pandemic.

Rosem Morton


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Rosem Morton


Left to right: Filipino American health care workers Karen Cantor, Karen Shoker, and John Paul Atienza were among many who cared for COVID patients in the early days of the pandemic.

Rosem Morton

In the spring of 2020 Glenn Magpili, 42, got sick with COVID. The first wave of the pandemic had flooded New York area hospitals and Magpili, an emergency room nurse in Manhattan, fell ill in the same hospital where he’d been caring for patients sick with the coronavirus. Then, he was intubated.

“When I woke up, I thought I was just asleep for a couple of days,” he recalls. “They told me it was almost four weeks.”

Magpili recovered but counts himself “one of the lucky ones. There were so many Filipino nurses who got sick,” he says.

I work as a nurse, too — I was born in Manila and immigrated to the U.S. with my family when my mom was recruited to teach here. I was 16. My interest in caring and service led me to nursing; my interest in storytelling led me to photography.

For Filipino Americans like Magpili and me working in all aspects of health care, being so close to a new and devastating virus in the early days of the pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll.

Filipinos and Filipino Americans make up just 4% of registered nurses in the U.S., but account for nearly a third of all COVID-related deaths among registered nurses, according to one study.

The history of Filipino nurses working in the U.S. goes back many decades as Americans established U.S.-style nursing schools in the Philippines during the U.S. occupation and colonization of the early 1900s. When the U.S. has faced nursing shortages after World War II and more recently, Filipinos have answered the call.

And it’s not just nurses. Doctors, respiratory and physical therapists and other health workers from the Philippines have come to the U.S. for medical training and jobs. When the pandemic happened, I knew my Filipino community would be heavily affected. Many of us ended up on the front lines caring for critical COVID-19 patients while watching colleagues and family members fall sick.

I want Filipinos to be seen beyond the statistics. I want people to see their faces, hear their diverse stories and learn about their sacrifices. It is important. These are people who have always contributed to the health and wellness of this country.

Here are some of their stories from the first devastating surge in New York City — and how they made it through. We’ve edited the conversations for length and clarity.

Bea Leal
Bea Leal

Dr. Bea Leal, 33, internal medicine physician

I grew up in the Philippines in a family of doctors. My mom, my mom’s sisters, my cousins and my

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