Out of the shadows — changes in women’s reproductive health

Caroline M de Costa
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11264
Published online: 21 November 2011

Safe, legal abortions and comprehensive reproductive health care are crucial for women, but there is still a long way to go

It was the first autopsy I attended and it left a lifelong impression. The year was 1970, and I was a medical student in Dublin. A young woman had come from the country to work in a bank. She became unwell and was cared for by her landlady, who diagnosed the flu. When her condition worsened, she refused a doctor until she was moribund. By the time an ambulance was called, she had developed septicaemia, and she died soon after reaching hospital. The autopsy revealed extensive peritonitis and infected placental tissue in the uterus, which showed signs of interference, although by whom, or where, or when was never established, as was often the case.

  • School of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD.


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