Marion Mifsud Mora after being admitted to Mater Dei with PPROM starting suffering with an infection and fever.  Although she knew her baby had no hope, it seems the doctors could not proceed to help her due to archaic anti-abortion laws. Doctors had no choice but to refuse her request to terminate the pregnancy. They couldn’t help her to start to recover because her baby still had a “faint heartbeat”. Marion’s situation continued to worsen and she had to be evacuated by her travel insurance company from Mater Dei Hospital. She was flown out in a medical jet to a private hospital in Paris. You can read the full story here: .

In a recent post, Doctors for Choice posted the following:

‘Preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) refers to a pregnancy complication where the sac surrounding the fetus breaks early. It is treated by admitting the patient for observation and giving them antibiotics. However, if there is evidence of sepsis (a severe life-threatening infection), delivery is indicated and the infection is treated aggressively. Otherwise this poses a very big risk to the woman’s health and potentially her life. If this happens before 24 weeks gestation, inducing delivery of the non-viable fetus should be offered to the woman to protect her from deteriorating and risk dying. This procedure effectively involves an induced medical abortion and it cannot be carried out under Maltese law as this is punishable, with the woman risking 3 years in prison and the doctors risking 4 years in prison plus being struck off the medical register. Therefore, doctors in Malta are unable to offer the proper treatment for PPROM to protect the woman’s life.’

A Maltese trainee gynaecologist studying in the UK said “In the UK somebody with PPROM gets admission, oral antibiotics and observation for at least 24 hours. If any sign of sepsis, delivery is indicated. Before 24 weeks that means Mifepristone and Misoprostol. There is a risk of PPH (postpartum haemorrhage), but the risk of worsening sepsis is greater.”

Another Maltese doctor also living in the UK remarked “it is common medical sense. If you have rupture of membranes and an infection sets in, and it is resulting in sepsis that is killing the mother despite antibiotics, you have to get rid of the focus of infection, that is; the pregnancy. Now ‘getting rid’ of the pregnancy before viability is in effect abortion.”

In Malta abortion is illegal under all circumstances. Many women are wondering what could have happened to Marion had she not had travel insurance and flown out of Malta. The publication of Malta’s national PPROM treatment guidelines followed by local doctors at Mater Dei would help put women’s minds at rest. It would help to see the guidelines that should be followed and come into practice the moment a woman presents herself with PPROM at 17 weeks in cases similar to those of Marion.

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