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This is a letter I mailed to 24 pro-life groups/leaders. Please help us spread the word.
Hello. I am Dr. Patrick Johnston, a family practice physician, and the director of the Association of Pro-Life Physicians and Personhood Ohio. I am also an acquaintance of Dr. Joe DeCook, who has a long history of AAPLOG leadership.
I have written about the ectopic transplantation procedures that have been successfully performed to save ectopic babies’ lives, and this has given hope for life to those whose case is frequently considered hopeless. This life-saving procedure was reported first in the medical literature in 1917 in the Harvard medical journal Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics1 and as recently as 1980 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology2.
As a result of my article, I was contacted by Bryan Evans with Samaritan Ministries, searching for an American physician who would perform such life-saving procedures. I have been contacted by mothers with ectopic pregnancies, searching for American physicians willing to perform this procedure. Leaders of several national and local pro-life organizations, and church leaders have similarly inquired, Where are the American physicians attempting to save the lives of these ectopically implanted children? The case of these babies is not hopeless. There is a public outcry among the pro-life population of this nation for life-saving alternatives to the ectopic pregnancy algorithm. Ectopic-pregnancy-uterine transplantation surgery is a long-proven remedy that the contemporary medical community pretends does not even exist. The medical literature documents autotransfusion as a therapy that is life-saving for the mother and does not involve killing the baby.3 In one study, autotransfusion (removing the blood from the pelvis of a ruptured fallopian ectopic pregnancy, putting it through a filter and giving it back to the mother) had a success rate at saving the mother’s life even greater than the most commonly employed abortive method4 – and it did not involve killing the baby. In some cases, the embryo in the ruptured tubal ectopic pregnancy would reattach elsewhere, and survive.
Expectant management is the accepted standard of care for tubal ectopic pregnancies, as the vast majority of tubal-ectopically implanted babies will perish without intervention and be reabsorbed by the fallopian tube. Nevertheless, in my experience, doctors are quick to kill via toxic methotrexate administration or surgery, assuming greater liability for “watchful waiting.” Literature from WebMD, Emedicine, the Mayo Clinic, and even the US Department of Health’s web portal, PubMed Health, all falsely claim on their websites that the ectopically implanted child cannot survive. This is in spite of the fact that there are many studies proving that ectopically implanted babies can survive. One study documented 316 ectopically implanted children that resulted in live births! Even a “significant” number of babies implanted in the fallopian tube have resulted in live births! (To read more about this, consider Bill Fortenberry's well-researched article here.) Doubtless, the haste to kill and to deny hope is due in part to the general lack of respect for the God-given right to life.
That is a deficiency that is certainly not lacking among members of the American Association of Pro-Life Ob/Gyns, the Catholic Medical Association, and the Christian Medical Association and other such groups, and groups like yours.
There are several ways you can immediately help procure physicians willing to perform this life-saving procedure.
In your policies, literature, and conferences, please give hope to mothers and fathers with ectopically implanted children. Their death is not inevitable. They can be saved.
Informed consent requires physicians inform their patients of their medical alternatives, and physicians must be better educated on the subject so they will not needlessly kill ectopically-implanted children, but will offer life saving alternatives. Help us educate them.
Since doctors are not being trained in this procedure in their residencies, pro-life physicians must bravely lead the way in perfecting these procedures and documenting their success in the medical literature. As a public speaker and lecturer to secular and Christian audiences on subjects related to medicine and ethics, I am available to give a presentation that you may find invaluable in your attempts to encourage physicians to perform these life-saving procedures, and discourage unethical alternatives. I was also interviewed in a documentary on this subject, Pro-Life Without Exception, available on amazon.
We are all committed to the ethical premise that God created human life and no one may intentionally kill another innocent human being. This ethic is a sure foundation, regardless of the specific medical circumstances. The situation of ectopic pregnancies has not presented an ethical dilemma for many life-affirming organizations and persons because they believe the abortive drug or surgery is necessary to save the mother’s life. However, if it is not necessary to save the mother’s life or preserve her health, the principle of “double effect” no longer applies – much more so if it is proven we can save the ectopically implanted child’s life, too. If our “Do no harm” oath means anything, we must adjust our policies with regard to ectopic pregnancies.
Will you help procure American physicians willing to perform these life-saving procedures? There is certainly a market for these procedures. Supply should meet the demand, and we would solicit your help in improving the supply and the demand.
We would like to meet with your leadership to discuss means whereby we can encourage physicians to perform these life-saving procedures, and develop life-affirming protocols that discourage early unnecessary abortive procedures. Do you have a day available in February?
J. Patrick Johnston, D.O.
S Edwin Duncan, Gerald Klebanoff, Waid Rogers, "A Clinical Experience with Intraoperative Autotransfusion," Annals of Surgery 180(3): 296-304. Also, D.O Selo-Ojemea, J.L Onwudea, U Onwudiegwu, "Autotransfusion for Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy," International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 80(2): 103-110, DOI:10.1016/S0020-7292(02)00379-X
Clarisa R Gracia M.D.a, Hillary A Brown M.D.b, Kurt T Barnhart M.D.M.S.C.E., "Prophylactic methotrexate after linear salpingostomy: a decision analysis," Fertility and Sterility, 76(6): 1191-1195, DOI:10.1016/S0015-0282(01)02906-5
This makes me weep!! I had 5 ectopic pregnancies beginning in 1985! I have never heard of this procedure! I didn't think of removing the babies as "killing" either because I was bleeding to death. I hope this will bring hope to some other mother who is going through an ectopic pregnancy. I'm sharing on FB. I will see my babies in heaven. d
@PhillipDodd1 Hi, I just wanted to say that , I , myself have lost 5 ectopic pregnancies as well. You are the first person I have ever seen that has suffered as I have. I wanted to be a mommy so badly and was so happy when I heard of my first one. I had to have surgery or they said I would not have made it thru the night. I begged for them to try anything to save it and they told me there was no way. So I went on to lose four more over the years and a little piece of my heart went with each one. It's absolutely devastating. My heart bleeds for you as I know the pain all too well. To top it off, just this year I was told to give up trying unless I opt for IVF (which I cant afford) because if I get pregnant again, it too will be ectopic and they will take my last tube. I was crushed. So I guess it's game over for me. Im so sorry for your losses and yes, we will see them one day.
Interesting read, and thank you for posting. I was just praying about this issue the other day...."what if" It has opened my heart to possibilities.
Please do not post information that is Blatantly false
As an Ob/gyn for 20 years, there is NO good medical literature we can take abnormally implanted pregnancies and put them in the uterus with hopes of a normal baby developing.
You site information from as far back as 1917 to support your claims-this is nearly 100 years ago. 1917 is when we were fighting WWI. How ludicrous.
Do not give women false hope their tubal pregnancy will become an abdominal pregnancy
Do not make women feel they somehow killed their baby by having the ectopic removed or dissolved and/or sent to pathology for evaluation (which is the standard and acceptable and medically and morally appropriate)
Do not purport to be an Ob/gyn expert when you are not
Do not add fuel to peoples passion to prevent women from getting appropriate medical care
Do not equal being pregnant with personhood
Your post is clearly motivated by the desire to further the personhood agenda
Keep to the Hipocratic Oath and do no harm-harming women psychies with misinformation in the name of personhood is wrong and dangerous.
T Ellis ob.gyn FACOG
@T Ellis First Do No Harm ALSO applies to the unborn patient who has a chance of survival if he/she can be successfully transplanted into the uterus. As an Ob/Gyn for 20 years, have you never heard of people trying new techniques in medicine? How do you think new treatments are developed? Why haven't you ever tried it? Why is it ludicrous that Dr. Wallace managed a successful transplant 100 years ago without fancy equipment? Why can't someone at least try it today? Nobody has even TRIED. And yes, Dr. Ellis, if you inject methotrexate into a living human being, you are killing him. NOBODY is suggesting that women should not get appropriate care. I am suggesting you think outside the tube and try something new. In-virto was pooh-poohed as impossible until it became standard. I predict that tubal embryo transplants will become standard treatment if somebody has the guts to try it.
@BonnieLCoffey I have recently read about this and I think it should atleast be given a chance. YES there HAS been cases of tubal ectopics that were gently taken and transplanted into the uterus and went along as a normal pregnancy ending in LIVE birth. I guess to some its just not a big deal but to people like me it can make a world of difference if they were atleast to start working towards that being the norm. How can all these other transplants be done, even whole head transplants yet an ectopic pregnancy is out of the question. If the transplant fails, the baby does not survive but atleast it was given a FAIR chance.
@T Ellis A successful transplant was done all those years ago and given the technology we have today it damn sure should be a procedure to look into.
I lost a child due to an ectopic that the dr. felt as unsavable. Is the ectopic only savable when it's ruptured because mine wasn't at that point. Thank you!
I, too, am a physician (and a Christian) and am sad to report that the original author has provided you with false information. No one - absolutely no one - wants a WANTED pregnancy to end with anything less than a term birth. Although he cites literature - he is guilty of an impressively poor grasp of science/medicine. He has never witnessed this nor does he know anyone who has succeasfully performed it. Where are all of these people who are alive because of what he touts? Women die from ectopic pregnancies. If it were his wife, I wonder if he would sacrifice her as carelessly as he has written this article.
@kjpomd I challenge you and any other doctor to read ectopic personhood and TRY IT. It has been done and documented twice. Dr. Wallace thoroughly described his transplantation that resulted in a normal pregnancy and live birth. That is how every new medical treatment is developed - by trial and error. As long as mothers are fully informed and know that transplantation is experimental, most will undergo any treatment that attempts to save their baby.
I wish I had known this 25 years ago when I was heading a local pro-life org in NE Ohio. I've always thought this technology should already be there.