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Latino Daily News

Monday July 15, 2013

Dominican Pregnant Teen Denied Medical Treatment to Protect Fetus Dies

Dominican Pregnant Teen Denied Medical Treatment to Protect Fetus Dies

Photo: Abortion Dominican Republic

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A Dominican woman announced Monday that she filed charges against the hospital where her pregnant teenage daughter died after doctors delayed treatment for the girl’s leukemia as a result of concerns about the effects on the fetus.

The episode revived the controversial issue of abortion, which the Dominican constitution bans even in cases of a threat to the mother’s life.

“Rosa Hernandez has filed legal actions in the Dominican Republic represented by the organizations Colectiva Mujer y Salud and Women’s Link Worldwide. She seeks justice for her daughter’s death and wants steps taken to prevent similar cases from happening,” the organizations said in a statement.

Hernandez brought 16-year-old Esperancita to the hospital on July 2, 2012.

The girl, who was suffering from a high fever and hematomas, was quickly diagnosed with probable acute leukemia.

But once doctors determined Esperancita was seven weeks pregnant, they declined to initiate the treatment for her leukemia.

“The circumstances around the girl’s death were marked by lack of information, degrading treatment, and the hospital’s repeated refusals to appropriately treat the intensely painful symptoms that she suffered before her death, on the basis that any treatment would affect embryonic development,” Women’s Link Worldwide said.

It was not until July 26, 24 days after she entered the hospital, that doctors finally decided to begin chemotherapy but without interrupting the pregnancy.

On the morning of Aug. 17, 2012, Esperancita died of a massive hemorrhage.

“No one can bring my daughter back, but I cannot allow these things to happen without bringing to light that what was done was wrong,” Rosa Hernandez said.