AP

Missouri investigates hospital denial of emergency abortion

Oct 31, 2022, 3:23 PM | Updated: 3:43 pm

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s health department is investigating whether a hospital violated federal health care rules in denying a woman an emergency abortion, an agency spokeswoman confirmed Monday.

Missouri Health and Senior Services spokeswoman Lisa Cox in a statement said the agency launched an investigation into southern Missouri’s Freeman Health System’s treatment of Mylissa Farmer.

Farmer, who is from Joplin, told The Associated Press that she went to the system’s local emergency room when her water broke months early on Aug. 2. She said tests showed that she had lost all of her amniotic fluid because of a pregnancy complication and doctors told her the fetus was not expected to survive.

Doctors also told Farmer that “awaiting a medical emergency may put her at further risk for maternal mortality” or the removal of her uterus, medical records show.

But because her fetus still had a heartbeat and her condition wasn’t considered a life-threatening medical emergency at that moment, they couldn’t terminate the pregnancy in Missouri, they told her. She eventually got an abortion in Illinois.

Records from that visit say doctors told Farmer that the law supersedes their medical judgment and “contrary to the most appropriate management based (on) my medical opinion, due to the legal language of MO law, we are unable to offer induction of labor at this time.”

“They were telling me to basically get out of the state to get the care that I needed,” the 41-year-old told AP.

Farmer criticized Missouri’s abortion ban in a campaign ad for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Trudy Busch Valentine, who is running against Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt.

Missouri’s abortion ban includes exceptions for medical emergencies, although doctors and hospitals have said they’re unsure exactly what that covers.

Hospital spokeswoman Liz Syer said it’s their practice not to comment on patient care. She did not immediately return a request for comment Monday regarding the investigation.

Missouri’s health department investigation centers on a federal law requiring medical facilities to determine whether a person seeking treatment may be in labor or whether they face an emergency health situation — or one that could develop into an emergency — and to provide treatment.

In July, soon after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra wrote in an email to health care providers that the federal EMTALA statute “protects your clinical judgment and the action that you take to provide stabilizing medical treatment to your pregnant patients, regardless of the restrictions in the state where you practice.”

Becerra wrote that a hospital violating any provision of EMTALA “may be subject to termination of its Medicare provider agreement and/or the imposition of civil monetary penalties. Civil monetary penalties may also be imposed against individual physicians for EMTALA violations. Additionally, physicians may also be subject to exclusion from the Medicare and State health care programs.”

——

Associated Press writer Jim Salter contributed to this report from O’Fallon, Missouri. Ungar reported from Louisville, Kentucky.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

20 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

21 hours ago

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

1 day ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

1 day ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

3 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Missouri investigates hospital denial of emergency abortion