May 19, 2010
A few months ago, I blogged about a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Iowa administering the dangerous RU-486 abortifacient regime via skype. A local news station in Iowa is now providing more information about this story:
The new telemedicine technique allows a doctor to talk to and dispense the pills to a patient in a remote office location using a camera and microphone connected to the Internet, which allows for two-way communication. Officials said the patient is counseled by on-site staff before connecting to talk to the doctor who is at a different location. After talking to the patient, the doctor can then tap a button on the computer to activate a special drawer at the patient’s location that will open and allow the patient to receive the pills. The patient then takes the first pills while the doctor watches.
To be clear, RU-486 isnt considered the safest of drugs.
Due to potential adverse reactions (in particular, excessive bleeding to the extent of needing a blood transfusion or incomplete abortions requiring further surgery), RU-486 can only be administered by a physician who can do blood transfusions or surgical abortions should they be required.
By the spring of 2006 six years after RU-486 was made available in the United States, the FDA acknowledged six deaths, nine life-threatening incidents, 232 hospitalizations, 116 blood transfusions, and 88 cases of infections, with a total of 1070 adverse events reports.*
Once again I wonder how Planned Parenthood, an organization that advocates for womens health, could possibly advocate administering this drug regime with less medical attention and supervision.
*Letter from David W. Boyer, Assistant Commissioner for Legislation, Food and Drug Administration, to the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources (May 2, 2006) (on file with Subcommittee).