Georgia woman shares warning after nearly dying from miscarriage
ATLANTA (CNN)- A woman from Georgia who experienced a life-threatening miscarriage is now speaking out about her harrowing ordeal. Melissa Novak, accompanied by her husband Stewart Day, has revealed that her doctor failed to prescribe a specific drug that is commonly used in miscarriage care, despite it being a standard practice. This incident highlights the potential consequences that women may face if courts ban this drug nationwide.
Novak and Day, who have been together for fifteen years, were overjoyed when Novak became pregnant earlier this year. However, their excitement turned to heartbreak when an ultrasound at eight weeks revealed no heartbeat.
Unfortunately, Novak suffered from an early miscarriage, which is a common occurrence. However, what followed was anything but ordinary, and Novak’s life was put in grave danger. The standard practice for obstetricians in managing safe miscarriages involves offering two drugs together: Mifepristone and Misoprostol. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves this combination for ending pregnancies.
It was during this time, in late March when a federal judge in Texas was considering whether to block nationwide access to Mifepristone, that Novak experienced her miscarriage. Her doctor mentioned the ongoing lawsuit and prescribed only Misoprostol. Although Misoprostol has proven effective in managing miscarriages, it is less effective when used alone.
Nine days after taking Misoprostol, Novak developed a fever and experienced excruciating back pain. Medical records later revealed that she had suffered from a “septic incomplete abortion,” indicating a serious infection. Novak’s condition was critical, leaving her husband feeling helpless and uncertain if she would survive.
The lawsuit regarding Mifepristone is still progressing through the legal system, potentially impacting access to the drug across the country. One of the plaintiffs, an anti-abortion obstetrician seeking to remove Mifepristone from the market, claimed that using Misoprostol has been the standard of care for miscarriages for decades, but provided no evidence to support this statement. In reality, Misoprostol is not FDA-approved for miscarriages as a standalone treatment. This has raised concerns among physicians regarding the potential ramifications of court decisions.
Dr. Erika Werner from Tufts Medical Center expressed her worries, stating, “Any of us that care for women who have miscarriages are really concerned; more women are going to have unnecessary surgeries, more women are going to have complications, and we’re just not going to be providing the best care across the country.”
After spending four days in the hospital and undergoing emergency surgery, Novak recovered. She and her husband are now sharing their story because they fear for others facing similar situations.
In a special session at their annual meeting, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists acknowledged the confusion surrounding Mifepristone and advised their members that it is still available in all 50 states. However, if the plaintiffs succeed in their lawsuit, access to the drug may be restricted.
Obstetricians in Georgia confirmed that legally, Novak could have been offered Mifepristone. However, the current legal climate has created confusion and hesitancy among physicians to navigate potential legal gray areas.