"The state abandons you to your fate"

29th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

"We realised that the state abandons you to your fate," says Juan, whose doctors refused to terminate his wife's pregnancy when they discovered at 27 weeks that her baby had spina bifida.

29 January 2008

MADRID - "We realised that the state abandons you to your fate," says Juan, whose doctors refused to terminate his wife's pregnancy when they discovered at 27 weeks that her baby had spina bifida. "Up until then, they said that everything was fine. But when they discovered the problem, they were no help at all. We were alone. Finally, a clinic told us that we could terminate the pregnancy in Paris."

Clara was eight months pregnant when she was told that her baby would be born with major malformations. "My partner and I left the hospital like zombies," she says. "The time period had passed, and we went from specialist to specialist trying to find a solution. I thought I would go mad." Eventually, a private clinic helped her arrange a trip to Paris. "It was a relief to know that there was a solution, but I would never have thought that I would have to leave Spain to do so," she says.

She adds that she will never forget the day she entered the Robert Debré hospital in Paris. "They carried out a lot of tests, and told me that a team of doctors would decide." The same day, she was told that the baby had serious malformations and that the pregnancy would be terminated immediately if she wished.

Clara and her partner accepted the French medical team's advice and decided to abort. She spent two days in hospital, and highlights the difference in the way she was treated in France compared to the way that the Spanish health system had failed her.

"It is terrible that a woman should have to travel to Paris for something like that. I was treated like a human being, there was a psychologist on hand; there was even a doctor who spoke Spanish."

(All names used are fictitious)

[Copyright EL PAÍS / M. C. Belaza/ MARÍA R. SAHUQUILLO 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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