by Stephanie Gray
Do the tragic deaths in Ireland of Savita Halappanavar and her pre-born daughter Prasa really make a case for legal abortion? Many across the world are coming to that conclusion but overlooking an important piece of information recently reported in The Irish Times and The Guardian: an autopsy revealed that Halappanavar died of septicaemia “documented ante-mortem” and E.coli ESBL.
Countless news reports are only talking about the septicaemia (i.e., blood poisoning), but few are discussing E.coli ESBL, which, incidentally enough, can lead to, you guessed it, septicaemia. Just what is E. coli ESBL? An antibiotic-resistant bacteria (not to be confused with regular strains of E. coli that cause food poisoning) that is associated with urinary tract infections (UTI). This strain of E. coli has been spreading in the UK and last year two babies died in nearby Wales because of it. The presence of E. coli ESBL is particularly problematic if Halappanavar was given antibiotics to fight an infection that was resistant to those very antibiotics.
According to the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, E. coli is one of the most common organisms to cause a UTI and complicated UTIs are frequently associated with pregnancy. They write, “The likelihood of treatment failure and serious complications, particularly the development of antimicrobial resistance, is more common in cUTI