What happens to all the miscarriages?

Last week a woman told me that she had a miscarriage in her bathroom. She was terrified. She didn’t know what to do. So she flushed it down the toilet.

A miscarriage is the spontaneous expulsion of a fetus from the womb before it is able to survive on its own. One in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage. Many women don’t know they are miscarrying. Those who know usually suffer grief and sadness, mourning the loss of what could have been …

One moment a young mom-to-be is decorating the baby’s room, preparing to welcome a new son or daughter. The next moment, she is giving birth to death.

For some women every period is a failure. The disappointment, the longing, the despair is overwhelming. One woman describes “years and years of monthly miscarriages—a constant cycle of anticipation, devastation, acceptance, and surrender.”

How much is a human life worth? Women spend tens of thousands of dollars on fertility treatments that may still end in miscarriage.

What happens to all these miscarriages?

I asked Mom, a retired psychiatrist. She told me that during her pediatric rotation in medical school, she was called to a premature delivery. When she arrived, the obstetrician had already tossed the miscarriage in the trash. Mom looked down. The tiny body was still moving. Mom tried to save it, but it died.

It seems odd that someone so valuable could be flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash. But not all miscarriages are discarded. Some are sent to my father.

As a teenager, I worked alongside Dad, a hospital pathologist. We received miscarriage specimens in plastic containers. Each miscarriage was carefully placed on a fine metal strainer in the sink. We turned on the water and rinsed away the membranes, clots, and blood until all that was left was a tiny little rib cage and a couple of femurs. Dad could date and age the little body by the size of the bones. I thought it was amazing.

While most fathers were accompanying their daughters to ballet recitals or soccer matches, I was privileged to participate in an archeological dig with Dad through the remnants of human life.

And for me it was all normal—and beautiful.

Raised in a morgue, I spent my childhood accompanying Dad to work. I peeked in on autopsies and examined body parts. But as a young girl I was most intrigued by the babies. They looked like Buddhas. From largest to smallest, they sat cross-legged along one shelf. Floating in jars, they leaned toward me and stared straight through me. And they never blinked. They seemed to know something I didn’t. But who were they? And why were they trapped in jars? And how come I wasn’t inside a jar, too?

Dad’s inner-city miscarriage collection still intrigues me. All Philadelphia natives, they were probably Irish Catholic, Puerto Rican, and mostly African American. But none were black, or brown, or white. All blue babies. All race-neutral. Chromosomal defects were the likely cause of demise. Maybe their tender souls weren’t ready for a rough, urban life. God may have had a better destiny for them. This is the United States of America. In God we trust.

So what happens to all these miscarriages? Seems the souls leave the bodies. And the bodies become medical waste. But not all are lost and forgotten.

When Dad retired, he offered me his miscarriage collection. I was honored to be asked to watch over their little bodies rather than have them incinerated as medical waste. But I could not see stuffing all the jars into my carry-on bag and holding up the line at the airport while trying to explain myself. So I kept only one. I made it through airport security with that tiny person in my pocket—a six-week-old calcified embryo about the size of a penny.

Sometimes when I lose sight of the big picture, I hold that tiny person in my hand and I see the whole world.

What happens to all the miscarriages?

Pamela Wible pioneered the community-designed ideal medical clinic and blogs at Ideal Medical Care. She is the author of Pet Goats and Pap Smears.

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  • http://barefootmeds.wordpress.com/ Barefootmeds

    On my forensic pathology rotation I always felt so saddened and intrigued by the babies who arrived there. Thanks for a beautiful piece of writing.

  • PamelaWibleMD

    There is so much beauty and mystery in life and death. May we all share our stories here and with one another. Do not deny the feelings.

    • PM

      I used to be terrified of death. And some aspects of life. I think it had a lot to do with it being shrouded in mystery and darkness. The more I’ve had a chance to learn and discuss and reflect, the less scary this part of being human becomes. Thank you for speaking where others just let fear and silence reign.

  • Andrea

    Since my son was stillborn at term last year, I have noticed that medical professionals have difficulty with language and definitions. The term “miscarriage” should never be used as a synonym for “baby” (or even “fetus”). Thus, a miscarriage can never be thrown in the trash, but a body can be. Before I had my son, I miscarried a baby girl. The process by which I lost her was a “miscarriage” but she was, is and forever will be a baby.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Thank you Andrea.

    • Tamara

      But to the pro-abortionists, if your baby had never drawn breath on his own, he was not a baby. He was just a clump of cells.

      I am fine with early abortions, in the first three or even four months, but after that, I cannot understand the cognitive dissonance that allows a pro-abortion Mom to call HER 28-week-old baby “a baby” if he or she was “wanted”, but just a clump of parasitic cells to be removed and disposed of like a wart or a mole, if that’s their choice. The 28-week-old baby is the same, regardless of the mother’s attitude! It’s either a baby, or it’s not.

      • PamelaWibleMD

        Yes. Interesting. We spend so much time in polarizing conversations. Pro-choice. Pro-life. There is a deeper discussion yearning to be born. Thank you Tamara for sharing.

      • Margaret Houlehan

        Tamara: No one is pro-abortion. I don’t know of anyone who takes pleasure in having an abortion. Here’s a hint: what another woman decides is *none* of your business. No one died and made you God.

    • Bruce

      TOUCHE’!

    • querywoman

      My paternal grandparents lost their first child the day of his birth. I do not know how long he lived. My father was from another state. I have seen his older brother’s grave twice.The gravestone reads, “Infant Son.”
      Still sad like your own tragic losses.

      He is remembered until a revolution or natural disaster covers, crushes, or destroys his grave.

  • PamelaWibleMD

    Thanks Andrea for the clarification. We are no at ease with death – or life. Our lives – no matter how brief – are sacred.

  • Carj

    Wow….pretty heavy, indeed. As a fairly normal and extremely fertile woman (in bygone days, of course), i had several miscarriages and a baby who was delivered at 26 weeks in 1969 – born alive, but died because the small town hospital didn’t have a proper incubator because they hadn’t expected a live birth, but he died three hours later…but that’s another story. The woman of your story’s confusion is probably close to universal. It seems to me that we in the west aren’t as sophisticated as we could be in matters that are outside our understanding. I think that in Japan (Shinto), there is a special cemetery where women can go to mourn their miscarriages. It is so outside our comfort zone to know what to say to a woman who has miscarried. It can be devastating in some instances and a sigh of relief in others. I just remembered that no one wanted to talk about my baby who had died. They just acted like it hadn’t happened. Where do miscarriages go? Each and every heart that hoped for a baby knows the answer, and it isn’t the same answer for each one of us.

    • PM

      Our western culture seems to have such a challenging time grieving and supporting those that are experiencing grief. I love the concept of having a special cemetery to grief the loss of an unborn child. We should follow this example. Grief isn’t so crippling when others stand with us in our sorrow and pain.

      • PamelaWibleMD

        We heal in community. Humans are social animals. Isolation leads to despair. Many people feel they are the only ones suffering. Public grieving ceremonies are common in parts of Africa.

        • Jill Mckenzie

          Africa has the highest intentional homicide rates in the world. South Americas I believe are second than N. Americas. Per 100,000 people, Greece 1.5 (146 on list between Vietnam and Somalia), India 3.5 higher up on the list.

        • Amanda Sanders Bird

          Indeed! After my miscarriage, a friend commented that a miscarriage is a very private grief because no one else really knew that baby. Some friends were wonderfully supportive, and others just didn’t get it. To be honest, I didn’t either before my miscarriage. … As for the babies in a bottle, I appreciate the fact that you honored and respected their existence. I would probably do it differently (a burial, perhaps?) … not having been raised in a morgue! :-) Thank you for starting this discussion, Pamela. It obviously speaks to a need in our society.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Yes. I may be a little different having been raised in a morgue. I wanted to share the beauty of one little life on a penny to start the conversation. How much do we really value life? What do our actions demonstrate?

          • Amanda Sanders Bird

            Great questions!

          • Bruce

            DITTO!

        • Bruce

          Modern Society tends to dissolve even every last remnant of the one-time all-encompassing human community within our original tribal formations [though tribes tended to be in perpetual warfare among themselves].

          Even the final remnant and last refuge of those original communities — the nuclear family — is having difficulty holding up against this “universal solvent” of ”’modernity”’!

          Some of our most desperately needed “social medicine” today calls for our discovery of new and more viable ways to reconstitute forms of human community that can effectively resist — and even eventually prevail against — that solvent.

          And Dr. Wible is a pioneer of such “social medicine”!

      • Bruce

        I agree on all of your points — and you wrote them so well!

  • Mengles

    You really should have become a psychiatrist.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Really? Why?

      • Tamara

        I am hoping he meant it as a compliment. You seem unusually perspicacious and aware for “just a regular doctor”.

        • PamelaWibleMD

          Love learning new words. Had to look that one up!

      • Mengles

        I meant it as a compliment. You truly are able to connect with people, and I’m sure your patients appreciate you for this.

        • PamelaWibleMD

          Thanks! They do. We are all healers if we allow ourselves to witness the lives of others without prejudgement.

  • http://www.CommunicatingWithPatients.com/ Edward Leigh, MA

    Hello Pamela: Your article is so moving … so touching. Your writing reminds me of the importance of all life, no matter how small or in what state. Life is priceless. Thank you for writing this compassionate article. Best wishes, Edward “Eddie” Leigh, MA

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Thanks Eddie! We are spiritual beings having a finite and ever-so-brief human experience. Gad our paths have crossed my friend. <3

  • Tamara

    When I read this, I can’t help but picture the evidence photos shown at Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, of row upon row of jars of little baby feet, the feet he had cut off and kept as “souvenirs” of the scores of babies he had killed.

    What happened to all those babies’ feet after the trial? Were they just incinerated as “medical waste”? Were they given back to the parents of the babies (to the fathers, if the mothers didn’t want them) for proper burial? Are they still in an evidence locker somewhere, in case there’s an appeal?

    And why did he KEEP them?

    Such a haunting image.

    The remains of a 30-week-old baby are still the remains of a 30-week-old baby, whether his or her death was an accident of fate or whether the mother hired someone to kill him or her.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      I see those images too. To often we practice medicine with an lack of sanctity for life.

  • Jill Mckenzie

    The individual ‘life situations’ of women call for different approaches. When I watched a documentary about doctors trying to talk a family in India to let them remove their daughters extra limbs..I saw another perspective. She was being exhibited by her parents to make money. The discussion and conversations included statements that stated that because of the poverty most miscarriages..or malformed live births (this info terrified me) would be left in a field..to what ever fate may be. I saw another perspective when watching a documentary about women who were raped (Africa) became pregnant, and then their infants would also be raped. The women opted to abort their own fetuses. I also came across a story by a nun who was raped and became pregnant..who admitted to causing herself to abort her fetus. All of these stories make me sad..for all women who want to have children and for children who never really have lives.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Profound. There are so many stories behind the body parts and bodies we “throw away.” Why do we throw the sacred away without a second thought?

      • Sheri

        Great question. I didn’t know human remains were considered medical waste. Most of us bury our turtles and goldfish and have little ceremonies. What gives?

  • Jill Mckenzie

    The word ‘sacred’ I am not comfortable with. Studying human behavior…what brings a human to very primitive behaviors…desperation..psychological damage from predators…brain injury…just too complex. I think it is a very normal and healthy response to respect other human life. But I know and you know that predatory and violent behavior is directed to humans of all ages.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      What’s uncomfortable about sacred?

      • Jill Mckenzie

        It is a word about religion. What is a religious fanatic? How is it defined? I can use the word as metaphor. There can be unhealthy connotations for those whose thinking is based on their religious beliefs. There are so many different religions. I use the word ‘spiritual’ very often to describe the emoting or welling up of feeling I or other people I know are experiencing. I remember watching former relatives who had animals on their farm, how difficult it was for me to understand all the ‘stuff’ involved. I was brought up in a religious home..education about very basic things were denied..based on the literal translation of the Bible. I attended Bible study..sang in the choir etc. Found a good friend in one of the ministers even though he and I never saw eye to eye, so to speak. I don’t know if I am wording this quite right..

        • PamelaWibleMD

          Religion can be used less for awakening our potential as human beings and more for oppression. My affinity for the word sacred has nothing to do with any particular religion. Too often we have turned sacred into sacred.

          I think of the sacred physician-patient relationship.
          Now both physician and patient too often fear one another. We need to transition back from scared to sacred in our lives.

          Do you agree?

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Have you ever been told to move on to a surgical table in a surgical suite, fully awake, have your arms strapped down, a hospital where there are crucifixes hanging all over? I believe it was the kind of table that is motorized..to move the patients body to a certain position. Being met with negative attitudes that connote..well, more of a feeling of an impending act of violence than a surgical procedure to remove cancer and stage it. Do you know what a needle localization is? A way to determine where the surgeon has to remove tissue. An x-ray machine is used..to guide the needle insertion. Sitting up..with no anesthetic..nude from the waist up..location against the chest wall. Just something injected so one “will not pass out”. Pain….terror…

          • PamelaWibleMD

            That’s a image I have not previously contemplated. The crucifix above the surgery table. Wow.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            I do not remember there being a crucifix anywhere in the surgical suite..they were in most other rooms..I was a bit distracted…

          • Sheri

            I agree wholeheartedly!!

        • Bruce

          The word “sacred” can work for theists and non-theists alike.

          Its most general meaning applies to anything which is “revered, or regarded with reverence”.

          Any decent person — theists and non-theists alike — holds that human life, even [or especially] human life cut so short, should be “regarded with
          reverence”.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Regarding the word sacred. I am not necessarily invoking God or religion, but I do feel we lack the sense of awe and appreciation for life (no matter where we believe we come from). Sacred to me is having reverence or a deep respect and honor for another. Why have these little lives crossed paths with me? I don’t know. But I do want to honor them for being even if their little lives were ever so brief.

      • Jill Mckenzie

        I love that you said that! There is , or will be, imagery in my planned art works, I am a visual artist, that is similar in feeling..and thinking. I am someone who started studying the Surrealists years ago..I have used mannequins and will be using the vast collection of dolls I have gathered over the years. I did a project in college called “La Poupee Vivant” (sp?) The hours I spent drawing and studying the human figure..others artists renderings etc. One is never allowed children for models! I have a son, born later in life..I was just turning 44, after an early stage breast cancer diagnosis. I have similar feelings as you do…

        • PamelaWibleMD

          I am a visual learner as well. The photograph with this piece evokes the value or lack of value we have on life. Are you familiar with the term “Ahimsa?”

          • Jill Mckenzie

            It made me uncomfortable, because a human fetus would not be in my work..somehow for me it would show a lack of respect..probably do to the ‘image’ issues in the religious upbringing I had. I never really verbalized it before.. I did not know the term”Ahimsa”..but the concept of do no harm is very familiar to me. If you were in some of the situations I was in with doctors and medical professionals…it is a term I know as not being understood..or practiced by some. Sadistic Rape….a term I am familiar with…pedophile..another term I am familiar with. Sorry to say…

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Why are we more familiar with sadistic rape and pedophilia than ahimsa?

          • Jill Mckenzie

            I studied psychology..there are many international terms I am not familiar with. Many people are not familiar with any of these words. I studied French..and am interested in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Some cultures have more terms for love and nonviolence. India and Greeece, for example.

          • Bruce

            A sorry symptom of our decadent times, indeed!

          • PamelaWibleMD

            And our language reflects our lack of progress.

          • Bruce

            Yes, language is such a sensitive barometer of the state of the entire “The Human PHENome” [of which that language is itself a key part] — that much-neglected other of “The Human GENome”.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            True. The mind (and language) is the ultimate control panel of the body – and culture.

        • querywoman

          I do not have children, and I blame medical negligence. Long story!
          I have a huge doll collection and have worked with other people’s children: teaching Sunday School, etc.
          Most people consider me a mother.
          Once I decided I wanted to put more people in my paintings. Then I did an oil abstract painting, and a fetus appeared in it.
          Another woman saw it instantly.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            What is that long story? I know it is probably very personal. I know so many women who could not or did not have children. I was one of them till 43…I was one of 9 children…and I know many women who had children effortlessly as well. Human fetus?

          • querywoman

            I have a history of serious menstruation problems related to manipulating my levothyroxine. Of course, any resultant menstrual problems were related to “depression,” not the thyroid med adjustments.
            In my early 30s, I bled 15 days a month for 24 hours. My doctors, included two board certified internal medical type endocrinologists, were more concerned abut hucking preventive medicine like blood pressure pills, cholesterol screening, and mammograms than trying to fix my obvious ovulation disorder, give me sympathy, and treat me like a young woman with maternal desires.
            I had to ask for a D&C to diagnose it, then forward it two doctors for adequate interpretation. The last one was a female reproductive endocrinologist. Her care was adequate, but she was a Witch from Bell. No sympathy, wanted me to have psychological testing and take Prozac.
            I ended up on birth control pills, a ridiculously simple answer. BC pills were invented in Mexico for women like me with problems and fertility disorders. That they suppressed ovulation and helped regulate the cycle was unexpected.
            I took BC pills for years, of course, that kept me from having babies. Nevertheless, I was too sick from other issues to be in a relationship and get pregnant, I have since realized that I was in a prediabetic state.
            In my 40s, I began to go into diabetes. Metformin helped me immensely. I also learned about polycystic ovarian disease in my 40s. A different internist-endo, a more compassionate woman, agreed I probably have polycystic ovarian disease,
            Metformin probably would have helped me, had it been available and I could have had it sooner.
            I realized that my problems with my bleeding disorder, and I was treated like it was dirty and shameful, was nothing other than the cultural menstrual taboo.
            I do believe I read in a book by Deirdre English and Barbara Ehrenreich that the modern gynecologist is the perpetrator of the menstrual taboo. The ones I saw, especially the women, were.
            Wanna say more, but I’m using a rather limited computer till I get paid again.

          • querywoman

            I even became anemic from the bleeding, which was not surprising! Oooh, I saw some BAD doctors those two years.
            The woman internist-endo whom I saw in my mid-40s assured me on the phone before I went in that she had had menstrual cramps.
            It’s amazing how many other women who think of menstruation disorders as a joke.
            I found a book called, “The Wise Wound,” to be quite helpful with my menstrual problems.
            There’s nothing new under the sun. I was treated as subhman and defective. I identify with a woman who, about 2000 years ago, had spent all she owned on an issue of blood for years and grew worse not better.

            Like me, she’d be beaten down by doctors for daring to ask for healing of the excess bleeding. Quietly, she approached Jesus and touched his cloak, knowing she would be healed and she was.
            He sensed it too, and inquired about it. She confessed what she had done.
            He said, “Daughter, go in peace. Your faith has made you well.”

            I often see doctors write this up and dismiss it as an emotional problem with emotional healing. We really don’t do.
            What they are missing is the social and cultural issues presented.
            I’ve done my best to go in peace after my healing, but that does not mean I will shut up about the medical abuse I lived experienced.
            FYI, I went on insulin in my early 40s. My menstrual cramps disappeared, my periods got lighter, and eventually disappeared. My endo didn’t know why, but I let her take credit.
            I have never had a single symptom of menopause.
            It’s obvious my menstrual problems were related to insulin resistance.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            The first step in healing is speaking openly and courageously about your wounds. I thank you for sharing publicly.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            I can only think of my oldest sister….on an early birth control pill….after her 2nd child she developed ‘boils’ on her breasts…there is a medical term for the condition…numerous biopsies..high estrogen level pills. She would keep her cycle from happening by not having her periods..just keep taking the pills..similar to what a pill today is. Just more dangerous. She developed some kind of gyn. problem…by the time she was maybe 24..complete hysterectomy, opherectomy (?) removal of ovaries and cervix. She has been on estrogen supplements for years. In late 60′s..like 80 year old physiologically. Addiction..psych….all medical induced. Being a woman…is being great! The Men in menstrual….shame…I had a friend in HS who was a twin..she had her periods most of the month. at 13 she had D+ breasts and was very petite. She was prescribed BC to try and regulate her periods. 60′s. I was on and off for 2 years in the 70′s because of medical concerns. I am so sorry to hear about what happened to you. The ‘wunderkin’ mentality of some doctors…

          • querywoman

            I quote from a recent prayer by Sister Joan Chittister, “Jesus who loved the hemorrhaging woman,long ignored and thought to be intrinsically disordered.”

            I consider myself a social historian among other things. History tends to repeat itself except in a significant matter that changes everything.
            I was considered intrinsically disordered, and so was your sister, like that woman. The difference now is that doctors have figured out ways to make scads of money off cutting into female organs. If the surgical outcome is cruddy, then a woman needs another modern panacea, psychotic drugs. Sometimes, horse urine!
            I think the doctors in my 30s knew better than to try to sell me a hysterectomy.
            There are various progesterone and estrogen medicines available, which were not even considered for me. I tried progesterone suppositories and injections, but birth control pills worked better for me. I clearly had a hormone imbalance.
            However, it’s quite easy for male sex offenders to get female hormones to suppress the sex drive.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            This is very unnerving to me…the alteration of thinking can be induced by many things…introducing hormones that can be potentially carcinogenic..I do not think that is OK. Psychosis is a very scary condition..for everyone. External, etc. definition of psychosis…severely abused and traumatized..drug induced etc. There are current trends in psychology that know and work with these issues..more successful treatment and outcomes. How unfair to be mistreated over and over again.

          • querywoman

            Take comfort, Jill, in knowing that a few doctors will read our exchange.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            I can find little comfort…no..people are sometimes recyclable! There are very few biological organisms that do not have some purpose in the ‘big picture’ or scheme of things…regardless…:)

          • PamelaWibleMD

            We all need to meet in open dialogue – patients and physicians There is obviously a lot of healing that needs to take place here.

          • Suzi Q 38

            I agree.
            That is a good idea.

          • querywoman

            Alcohol and opium are the oldest and best studied mood-altering substances, and each has its value.
            The cornucopia of prescription mood- altering substances available today is frightening.
            Many menstrual and female hormone- related problems might be helped by allowing women an old solution, rest from their normal duties!

          • PamelaWibleMD

            First-line therapies should be the least invasive and most natural. I always recommend diet , lifestyle, ad then herbal remedies. Treatments should align with the values of the client.

          • querywoman

            Partial victory is telling my story and being heard. Yoga was a big help. Treatments often conflict the with the needs of the employer.
            The female endocrinologist I saw in the mid-40s told me she used to have menstrual cramps so bad she just wanted to lie down, and she had to see patients. That’s probably what she needed: rest and time to herself.
            Years ago, Disneyworld saw that many female employees became “tearful and grumpy” at certain times. So they had health advisers tell them stuff like to not drink soda premenstrually. They sure didn’t want the women taking off work.
            I think some women need rest and time off during menstruation like a menstrual hut and some don’t.
            I think the Brazilian constitution allows women 2 days off work every month for menstrual time. Brazil also promotes breast-feeding with ads on TV. No country is perfect. Meanwhile, Brazil has a much higher C-section rate than the US.
            In the US, menstruation is a taboo topic. On the other hand, in veiled Saudi Arabia, menstruation is a public topic.
            Got off topic a little, but miscarriages are also a natural function of the female body and should be discussed and acknowledged.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            I replied..cannot see my reply yet…I will check back…

          • PamelaWibleMD

            I am sorry for your unnecessary suffering.

          • querywoman

            Thank you, Pamela. Sympathy was what was lacking in those two years when I bled 15 days a month.
            I don’t know if anyone could have fixed me up so I could have a child (BC pills for a while is a fertility treatment.) but they could have given me sympathy.
            FYI, after 2 appointments with the abusive repo-endo lady, I found a compassionate internist at a public clinic who could continue her BC pills and the anti-inflammatory meds.
            My COBRA insurance had run out. My mother would have paid for me to go back to her, but I couldn’t stomach her again. I was silent for years toward her because I thought I might need her again.
            Years later, I wrote and explained to her that while her technical skills were adequate, her attitude was not and I had found a more compassionate doctor. I told her she took my money and insulted.
            Sad trivia: the public male internist tried to coerce me into a mammogram in my late 30s. I refused. Sadly, he died shortly before he turned 50 of something like colon or pancreatic cancer. Perhaps he intuited that cancer would get him. I’m well over 50 and still alive.

          • Suzi Q 38

            Thank you for your story, querywoman.
            Sorry all of this happened to you.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Maternal energy is strong. It drives much human behavior.

      • Bruce

        I agree — the word “sacred” can work for theists and non-theists alike.

        Its most general meaning applies to anything which is “revered, or regarded with reverence”.

        Any decent person — theists or non-theists alike — holds that human life, even human life cut so short, should be “regarded with reverence”.

        • PamelaWibleMD

          Yes. You get it. Exactly.

        • Jill Mckenzie

          I thought the correct definition is holiness, etc., perceived as being divine. I think you are right, loosely translated it can be used by both. I think that at a very basic and maybe primitive level loosing a part of us is always cause for ,say ,mourning. Very often time restraints do not allow for healthy resolutions of many major traumas. I have heard so much language used by both medical and non-medical persons validating this aspect of recovery. Stop playing the old tape, move on, let it go, stop dwelling on it….etc.

  • PM

    When I was 18, I experienced a traumatic injury that resulted in the amputation of two of my toes. I was horrified to discover that after surgery, my body parts were disposed of, and referred to as, medical waste. These were MY toes, part of ME, and were handled as garbage.
    I cannot even fathom what it would be like to know that the undeveloped, unformed, unborn child that might’ve been could be handled as such.
    Kudos to you, Pamela, for talking about things that others ignore.
    I’m wondering if anyone out there, who has suffered a miscarriage, has been able to obtain the fetus in order to lay the little unborn soul to rest in a manner of their choosing.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      We need a paradigm shift here. No person – or part of a person – should be called “medical waste.”

      • Jill Mckenzie

        In Mexican cultures I believe there is a” day of the dead”. I have a crucifix with attached semblances of body parts, dolls with skulls show up in some of my doll design magazines..I am also a great fan of Alexander McQueen, may he rest in peace. One Halloween my son and I constructed a skeleton form gallon milk jugs. The physical therapist asking just general conversation..found it macabre. Seemed odd to me. I have trouble using the term waste..even in a term onco-waste.

        • PamelaWibleMD

          Yes! A cultural acceptance and embracing death is so important for grieving and healing.

          • Sheri

            I believe death is still a taboo subject in this day and age, is it not? How do we grieve and heal if death is not acknowledged? If a fetus is called medical waste?

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Exactly!

          • Bruce

            Touche’!

          • querywoman

            Menstruation is very much a taboo subject in the contemporary US.

          • Bruce

            Pamela, would you please expand upon this point?

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Death is nothing to fear. It is a natural part of our life cycle as human beings. If we run away from death, hide from it, fear it, then we are really never living. Are we?

          • PM

            I attended a grief ritual with a woman named Sobonfu Some several years back. She is from a village in Africa that honors and respects the grieving process in a very loving, embracing, supportive way. When one person grieves, the entire village stands with them, encouraging the feelings to come, standing in solidarity through the pain and tears, and celebrating the connectedness that happens to each other, ourselves, and spirit (or G-D, depending on your universal beliefs). We all experience profound pain and loss, we just aren’t encouraged in our society to express it and move through it. Thank you, Pamela.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Yes! I attended Sobonfu Some’s ritual as well. It ca be very intense with everyone crying at once. She explained that anyone in her village who did not attend the ritual would usually be the person causing problems in the tribe the following year. Lesson: You can not hold grief inside or it will destroy you – and others. Sobonfu is actually teaching her next retreat at Breitenbush the same weekend as I am offering the next physician retreat: http://www.petgoatsandpapsmears.com/retreats.php

          • Bruce

            No. The price of “living” in fear of death is dying “prematurely” — “dying in life”, “dying one’s life”, instead of living one’s life, and still having to die in the end, despite having wasted one’s life by running away from death[/life].

          • PamelaWibleMD

            “Do not fear death so much but rather the inadequate life.” ~ Bertolt Brecht

      • Bruce

        I — very strongly — agree.

    • PHS

      In 1974 I had a miscarriage at 16 weeks. We were allowed to take him home and bury him on our property. I think since it was still relatively early in the pregnancy, there was no death certificate. I’m glad we were given that option.

      • Bruce

        What you experienced, in terms of the “repatriation” of your deceased “family member”, as well as the healing ritual that you were thereby enabled to enact, should be the norm, not the rare exception.

    • Bruce

      DITTO on all points!

    • querywoman

      You should have been offered your own toes.

  • querywoman

    I do not like the idea of miscarried fetuses being in anyone’s collection. I prefer burial or cremation.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      What would you do if you were given a human embryo?

      • querywoman

        Never happened and probably never will. I don’t know that I would accept it. If thought the other person would keep toting it around, I think I would accept it.
        I could easily burn it or bury it, while saying a few words for it
        I live near a cemetery that has “feet” other body parts.

        My deceased brother, a noncompliant diabetic, had three foot and leg amputations. He never mentioned his parts.
        Since you are a doctor, Mrs. Duggar of the large Duggar family lost a baby. Was it a tiny foot she showed at the funeral? I didn’t think a preemie foot would look that good, in skin tone, etc. ‘t

        • Jill Mckenzie

          I miscarried before my cancer diagnosis…I retrieved the remains and brought them to the er for the doctor to check..it happened once before and I did the same thing. What they did is give me an exam admit me..check things out and dispose of the remains after the pathologist checked it..if the pathologist checked it.

          • Sheri

            Sorry, a lot callous and indifferent. That must have felt awful.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Thank you for that.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            :( sad.

    • Sheri

      I don’t know, querywoman. I would rather Pamela Wible have it and feel the way she does about it than it have been carelessly tossed in the trash and labeled as medical waste.

    • querywoman

      I see Pamela Wible clicked that she liked this. There are not easy answers for a lot of things.
      She wrote that a lot of women don’t know they are miscarrying. True! I knew a woman who said that, as a teenager, she had had a very heavy period.
      Later, a doctor told her from the shape of her cervix that she had been pregnant and miscarried.

      I was surprised that nobody else had brought this up.
      So what became of the rest of her father’s collection?
      We know her parents had to have compassion. She wrote of her psychiatrist mother trying to save a still moving fetus in a wastebasket. That was probably a totally futile effort!
      If a woman is able to save a miscarried fetus, it’s probably a good idea to show it to a doctor. I wouldn’t fault a frightened woman who flushed it down the toilet – that’s probably where most of the unsuspected miscarriages go.
      But, if that were me, I’d want it back after it was checked for congenital abnormalities. Then I’d have some kind of service followed by burial or cremation.

      • PamelaWibleMD

        Yes. We need to keep our patients’ wishes central. Doctors should not throw out anything from a patient who may want to have a ceremony or a sacred process to treat their condition. These items belong to the patient not to the doctor. I have these items only because they were left (abandoned) in the morgue and I do not believe they (miscarriages) belong in a landfill or incinerator.

        • PHS

          I went to a conference on intergenerational trauma within the Native American community in Portland earlier this year. One of the speakers spoke to the importance of voluntarily giving up a disease process and the associated tissues that were surgically removed and then creating a ceremony around transforming this. He spoke of the amazing transformation in his own life based on this.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Yes! So much untapped power and healing here. Just turned into the medical waste.

    • Bruce

      Scientific collections — fine, to my lights! But treating miscarried corpses as “medical waste”, as “trash” — as carrion — seems, to my heart, to malign and to devalue the humanity of all of us.

      I realize that these corpses were but potential humans, not yet developed, beloved persons that could be “properly” mourned by their mothers and fathers, and by their extended families.

      I realize that they are reminders of heart-rending tragedy to their mothers — and to their fathers and extended families — that the medical practitioners and families may prefer not to remain as reminders.

      But wouldn’t we all benefit — the theists and non-theists among us alike — from some ritual of burial or cremation of these lost ones?

      • PamelaWibleMD

        Grieving – especially collective grieving – is cleansing. It’s a mandatory part of some African villages.

        • querywoman

          I remember some years ago in Hong Kong, I think, all the chickens had to be killed due to a disease.
          And the Buddhist priests had rites because of the mass killings!
          A friend was grateful when she picked up her young cat after having had her fixed to learn that had been pregnant.
          I wish hospitals would have monthly rites for what’s going in the incinerator: feet, hands, embryos etc. They could alternate clergy.
          This might offend the atheists and agnostics.
          It would be a reminder of the sacredness and mystery of life!
          It might be an exercise in futility. What becomes of all the blood doctors and hospitals take from patients?
          I suppose my brother’s lower limbs went into the hospital incinerator. We never discussed it. He was in denial about his diabetes. He had held a nonmedical job in a hospital for many years and knew about the incinerator.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Great idea! And so crazy that you would not want to know where your legs went.

          • querywoman

            I posted a lengthly reply to you on this, but my rather crummy computer didn’t seem to save it fast enough. I’ll have a better one soon.
            A monthly memorial might offend the agnostics and atheists. I feel it would serve to remind the hospital staff that all life is sacred.
            Hospitals spend lots of time and money advertising profitable services, so why not memorialize the destruction of life that happens all the time in hospitals?

          • PamelaWibleMD

            I for one would love to see a public ceremony. my intention for writing this piece was to create public awareness and recover the sanctity of life. People (and pieces of people) are not trash.

          • querywoman

            We could advocate for such a ceremony. I have to try and find the article about the Buddhist priests regretting the mass killing of chickens.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Yes. I’d like to see that. I think many aboriginal people’s prayed for the animals they were about to kill for food.

  • Sheri

    Pamela Wible, thank you for bringing out into the open the aspects of life that most people don’t want to talk about. Thank you for being a shifter of the paradigm in this regard. Thank you for being a real human being who happens to be a physician. A physician who is willing to address what others in your profession sweep under the rug. There are so many things this society needs to have a conversation about and I am happy to read here you are doing just that. I applaud your boldness in telling your very personal stories that are filled with so much heart and soul. The field of medicine is so lacking in that department and it is healing just to know that you are there, holding a light, blazing a path that hopefully others will follow. Please keep telling your stories. Thank you.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Thank you! I will. Working on sequel of my book – now #1 top-rated medical e-book on Amazon. People are hungry for these real stories. http://www.petgoatsandpapsmears.com/

      • Bruce

        Yes, please, please keep up your wonderful work!!!

        • PamelaWibleMD

          For you I’ll do anything, Bruce. Thank you for your support and wisdom.

    • Sydney Ashland

      I agree, Sheri. So good to talk about these taboo subjects. Thanks, Pamela

    • Bruce

      DITTO!!!

  • Sydney Ashland

    when I was 18 and had a miscarriage, no one wanted to even acknowledge the pregnancy, let alone allow me to grieve

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Why do you think?

      • Bruce

        Is the loss of a human life while still a “mere” potential, not yet a “person” known enough to anyone to grieve for PERSONALLY, such a horrible tragedy that we make it unspeakable, repress it, make it unmentionable in “polite society” — especially if it suffers the further affliction of being the result of an also “scandalous” pregnancy out of wedlock?

        • PamelaWibleMD

          Yes. What are we suppressing?

          • Guest

            Shame. About sex. Babies represent men and WOMEN having sex. We are such a sexually repressed society that acknowledging pregnancy in “undesirable” populations (teens, poor, uneducated) is embarrassing. Better to sweep that garbage under the rug no matter how it affects individuals. Pathetic.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Miscarriages are swept under the carpet even among the well-to-do. Yes. We are so oversexualized and sexually repressed.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            I once was seeking care from a woman Doctor..my initial meeting of her ..very attractive…close in age to myself..very fashionable haircut..clothing. She received an award from a religious organization. She was totally de-sexualized…first time I ever saw a what looked to be a photo-touch -up- job, done totally opposite of what most photographers do. She looked very….nunly.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            How sad to lose our identities – our hearts, souls, even sexuality for a profession.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            In another instance..about 8 years after my initial BC diagnosis, and after having a healthy baby at 43, I went in for a breast biopsy and gyno. look see. The woman anesthesiologist..totally the opposite! She talked to me before she put the IV in…outside the surgical suite..she was leaning over me.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Yes. Hard to generalize here. But in general I find that medicine devalues the heart and soul during med school training. Some docs never find themselves again.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Hmm. A housemate attending med school (male) , would share information with us. He brought up Professors who were total sexists. Memorizing certain spinal parts, nerves (?) using a memory trick..kind of like ” every good boy does fine” in music. Also gross anatomy procedures, course on ethics and difficulties, poor quality of slides for diagnostics etc. Not too long ago a $3 million dollar grant was given to a medical school to teach doctors compassion….hmmmm. Doctors that i have seen art very sexual…having some inside info on personal lives…I also had a guy housemate whose girlfriend was pre-med.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Don’t get me started on this. Our med school had fraternities. Need I say more?

            Here is an excerpt from my book:

            “In 1965 my mother, Judith Wible, received her medical degree from University of Texas Medical Brach at Galveston. Of 160 graduates, eight were female. The dean and fellow students reminded the ‘girls’ that they were ‘taking a man’s seat’ and that they would never use their degrees. Even the anatomy professor refused to accept female anatomy and persisted in addressing women as men. Despite her protests, my mother remained ‘Mr. Wible.” Women were excluded from urology–from palpating penises and prostates–while men dominated obstetrics and gynecology. Daily the women were exposed to filthy jokes that demeaned female patients, and in the evenings they slept n cramped nursing quarters while the guys had fraternities complete with maids, cooks, parties, and last year’s exams.”

          • Jill Mckenzie

            The blatant discrimination against women in most fields….fueled by religion…discrimination against children…. My family history goes way back to the 1500′s in this country. On my Dad’s side..a grandfather who was a mayor…mostly business and property owners…many with graduate level degrees/training. My Mom’s side…owned a hotel and general store in Brooklyn..her older brother was a baby…lost property in Germany…English/Irish..if you know about those times in History. The depression brought many losses. My Dad was a trained medic and trained in ER medicine as a young police officer. He was a deacon of the church at one point. Our care ( was by a Jewish Doctor) who lived in our neighborhood and made house calls.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Discrimination is rooted in fear. Don’t ya think?

          • Jill Mckenzie

            When one considers that intelligence is passed on the mothers side…and men…who genetically and biologically are in general very different…fear may be a factor…brute BS..Authoritarianism..might is right…I think it is in the primitive instincts and habits and traditions..fear of change..loosing control…

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Ya. Reptilian, primitive instincts still drive many of our actions.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Reptiles..a little different…the exclusion from urology might be because of sexual conflicts for patients..perineum etc. What is interesting that male doctors who do surgery can have the same affects. A nun used “slug” to describe a man after an assault. Somehow…I think we insult the” lower “creatures on this earth when we use them as negative comparisons.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            True.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Studying theology and history…..very terrifying…

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Knowledge and too much awareness can be diturbing. Esecially for empaths.

          • carecanada

            Perhaps you have heard of the book called “Wisdom of Psychopaths.” Lots of information about how that kind of brain can be useful in certain ways…for instance the famous UK neurosurgeon who is very workmanlike, as he cuts into people’s heads and empathy would not be useful as he performs. his work….An Oxford academic….lots of information from many sources: explores some of the pluses of lacking empathy for society..Sentimentality is not very useful in certain jobs or careers.

          • querywoman

            I had no real idea that miscarriages were kept quiet. I was a welfare worker over nine years, and put pregnant women on Medicaid.
            I often heard of miscarriages.
            The silence is probably related to the menstrual taboo. The mother could also be seen as defective, when usually the fetus is defective.
            I don’t see the current US environment as as sexually repressed at all. But the menstrual taboo is perfectly intact.
            In Saudi Arabia, the land of veiled women, menstruation is supposed to be an acceptable public tablet.
            No society or culture is inherently better or worse than another.

          • carecanada

            I have lived in various cultures….I have lived in USA and in Canada. and I have found Canada “inherently”(?) better in the sense of respect for life with the banning of capital punishment, and belief that every one has a right to healthcare:: i.e. Universal Healthcare…Just like there is a right to an education ( in the USA– as well as Canada.).

          • Bruce

            Yes — Living Paradox — both these opposites reproduced concurrently: oversexualized, e.g., in ads, to sell “products”; sexually repressed, when it comes to the real passion.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            We can tolerate ads with naked women draped around guns, but to see a woman breastfeeding in public is not tolerated.

          • querywoman

            TRIVIA: I worked with a gay guy in public welfare who tried to look elsewhere when women were nursing in his office to avoid sexual harassment charges.
            Most of the hetero guys never had a problem with breastfeeding. They looked at woman with hetero desires and understanding. Lots of them knew when women were having their periods.

          • Margaret Houlehan

            Miscarriages are proof that “God” or Generator, Operator, Destroyer, is the ultimate abortionist, since at *least* 30 % of pregnancies end in miscarriage.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Not just the poor, uneducated and teens should be mentioned. Incestuous relationships among the wealthy ..cousins used to be able to marry at one time…the very educated who engage in infidelity, and older women can have physiological issues.

    • querywoman

      I feel for you know, and I am glad you have this outlet. Were you unmarried? Were you supposed to celebrate the loss of your child?
      Were you married and considered too young to have a baby?
      Your body still experienced the loss, the hormone surges!
      Pamela wrote that lots of women don’t even know they are miscarrying.
      I wonder if these women feel a great sense of loss after a strangely heavy period?

  • Kerry

    I appreciate your gallant efforts and ability at placing the spotlight on such harsh realities that are so common place in our society, yet so overlooked. Without bypassing the gruel and cruel, you sneak in an element of utopia, something beyond human suffering. Without the spotlight nothing changes.

    There are so many topics like this that go unnoticed. Human nature allows us to see, with clarity, other cultures abusive and inhumane practices while turning a blinds eye from our own.

    Other topics of interest:

    Oppression and Free Speech in the USA (does it really exist without severe consequences)

    Criminalizing mental illness

    Patient screening practices in the medical field

    Nothing but euphemisms to work with in the real world, do they allow for the change that’s really needed (Real Communication) Or is money really the true goal?

    Abortion & STI’s: If youth were allowed access to the gruel and cruel facts would there be more hopeful statistical data.?

    STI’s and actual sexual norms in our own community

    Lacking Credence

    • Kerry

      Hmm, must be out in left field still.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Kerry, why do you suppose we glance over such topics?

      • Kerry

        Well, in my experience, freedom of speech = ostrasism and alienation at best and silence at worst. The majority will not risk rocking the boat and money wins out every time.

        • PamelaWibleMD

          How did we end up creating such a fear-driven society? Why?

          • Kerry

            It’s all a matter of survival. The one who is thrown out of the fold dies.

          • Kerry

            In my most humble opinion, that is. :)

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Wow. Interesting. People do fear leaving the herd.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Very primitive..but ..hey..that group bullying is true in many circles….not in civilized, morally intelligent and humane circles. Healing is more important.

          • Kerry

            I agree, healing is much more important. It’s unfortunate but in my experience this happens even in civilized, morally intelligent and humane circles. If you don’t have degree’s to back you, it’s not wise to step outside of your station in life. Especially if your thought process goes against the grain.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Sounds like a ‘cast’ system kind of answer. I am an American…what kind of degree’s exactly? Station in life? Sounds very elitist….discriminatory. I know you are right about some groups…small towns can be like that…..tell me more..

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Wunderkind..word that came to mind…

          • Guest

            America has a caste system, of sorts. Where I grew up in the South, it was called “getting above your rasins” (raisings). Same this as Brits being chastised for stepping outside their station in life.

            I was the first in my family to have ambitions to go to college. “She’s gettin’ above her raisins”. Boo. I not only went to college, I went away to a YANKEE college. And I only go home for Christmas and Easter. And I will forever be looked at askance by some of my relatives, the one who went and got above her raisins. My mom is proud of me though.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            You and I have much in common. I was one of 9 children, 5 boys, 4 girls, born between 1944 and 1960. New Joisey!

          • Kerry

            This is interesting, being dinged by your own family for going the distance. Very sad! I’m glad your mom is proud of you. I have a brother with a Phd. He is very humble. You’d never know it by his interactions with people. When he’s with the rest of his less civilized clan, he is kind and gentle and I love him beyond measure. I am very proud of him also. My experience has been very different though, For reasons that have seemed beyond my control, I’ve not completed any higher education but have been very happy to step in menial positions, in order to contribute to my family the best that I could. My observations and the treatment that I have recieved and witnessed, from our societal structure is like that of a caste system. I was very happy with the tasks that I’d been given, on the bottom, but the social heirarchy made it unbearable.

          • Guest

            Unnecessarily, uncomfortable at best. Almost as if it was required to gain the level of “Superior” that they had. That being said, I have witnessed also, true leaders, who are superior to all the rest, they are just few and far between. I think like the bell curve suggests.

          • Kerry

            …unnecessarily, uncomfortable at best. Almost as if this treatment of others is required to gain the level of “Superiority” they have achieved. That being said, I have also witnessed, true leaders, who are truely Superior to all the rest. They are just few and far between. I think like the bell curve suggests.

          • Bruce

            Degrees don’t help much, if the degreed person publicly disagrees with the policies promoted by the socially-parasitic hierarchy. Consider, for example, the persecution of Dr. Linus Pauling — just one of myriads of examples.

          • Kerry

            Couldn’t agree more!

          • querywoman

            American women face massive group bullying, pressuring them into having their female organs surgically mutilated.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Please expand upon this . . .

          • querywoman

            Duh? Routine caesareans and hysterectomies! Umpteen cervical surgeries after Pap smears. Massive mammogram publicity campaigns.
            Note, I am not saying that some of these surgeries are needed. I assert that they are extreme and often coerced.
            Australians more sensible address the issue that mammograms should not be coerced,

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Yes. We always should have true informed consent. Too often patients are rushed in and out of doctors’ offices and neither doctor or patient has time to fully discuss the issues at hand. And our training in preventive medicine is lacking so that certainly doesn’t help.

          • querywoman

            I suppose laboring woman are the most vulnerable to having their tummies slashed.
            Doctors are told to quit doing routine C-sections and hysterectomies, but they keep doing it.
            I think the hospitals like the income. Laboring women are a perpetual supply of potential surgeries.
            I hope you will come to see that knowledge of menstruation and the wonders of her own body are more liberating to women than knowledge of routine cancer screening and other such stuff.
            We don’t know how many miscarriages happen, but I’m with you, that most women don’t know they are miscarrying.
            My understanding is that human life is really an accident.

          • Bruce

            Those who seize power deliberately induce terror, in those that they socially parasitize — in their victims — in order to keep their power; in order to discourage their victims from overthrowing their abusers.

            Hierarchical systems of social parasitism run on fear.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Ah . . . all mind control. Speaking the truth is the first step toward freedom.

        • May Wright

          Ostracism was a method of banishment in ancient Athens, like shunning for the Amish, by which the citizens gathered and each wrote on a potsherd or tile the name of a man they deemed dangerous to the liberties of the people, and a man whose name turned up often enough was sent away. It’s from from the Greek word ostrakon — “tile, potsherd” which in turn is from the Greek root *ost- “bone” … see osseous or ossified, which is near enough to “calcified” that it brings us back around to to the process which preserved Pamela’s priceless little human being… And the fact that she keeps it, and dares to speak about it, leads some to want to ostracize her.

          Everything’s connected.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            I don’t feel ostracized. Bu maybe some would prefer I not bring the babies out of the trash bin.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            There are live children who suffer offenses..

          • PamelaWibleMD

            No doubt. Gotta start somewhere.

          • Kerry

            Thank you for this, May. I’m very well aware of the tactic myself. It’s frightening to no end to be turned away from your own human race, which is exactly what happens, here, in these United States of America, when you dare to speak out or shed light on uncomfortable and inconvienant truths. Thank you, Pamela, for not giving up or giving in.

          • querywoman

            Ostracism existed and still exists in some parts of the world for menstruating women. There may even be a biological reason for menstrual huts.
            Many women want more time to rest during their menstrual periods. In America, if a woman wants time off work during her period, then she’s poorly adjusted as a woman and needs Prozac
            I have visible skin disease. I call myself a leper, though I don’t have Hansen’s Disease.
            Lepers were often exiled and often lived near the city dumps, outside the city limits.
            Banishment for skin disease does recognize ti’s a problem. Current medical doctors blame patients for “picking at it,” and don’t treat.
            Skin patients aren’t exiled, but people see our ailments and think of us as defective.
            I’ve had people back off from me. There are other people with worse disease than I have who never leave their homes.

        • Bruce

          Yes, Money Worship — the true “global” and “universal religion” of our times!

          So many “religious leaders” of disparate faith traditions — so hostile to one another in public — are, secretly, all followers of this Same, One, Single, and “Only True” Religion — they are secret “co-believers” and “co-religionists” at “heart”!

  • Renee Liana

    Pamela, thanks for all your effort bringing topics like this into the open. I appreciate you. Only when things start being discussed openly can we head toward positive change.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      The truth will set us free. Not sure why people run from it. Nothing to fear.

      • Jill Mckenzie

        That is a little naive!

        • PamelaWibleMD

          Many of the decisions we make on a daily basis are fear-driven. How is this naive?

          • Jill Mckenzie

            The truth very often can put one..or “we” in jail for a long time. Fear..of prosecution, persecution, ostracism….that is why standing up for what one believes in can be fearful…even deadly in some communities. There was a movie about the civil war out not too long ago..showing the disposal of amputated limbs…being burned. I think aside from genocide states…healthy, normal, implying socially acceptable and not doing damage to others or one self…most individuals do show reverence toward body parts. But I also know that rituals or established protocols are not too reverent . Does that make sense?

          • PamelaWibleMD

            yes.

  • Vladimir Ross

    What right does anyone have to collect these “specimens”. And have them evermore in glass jars. As someone who would not trust a doctor with a dead mouse. I think this is outrageous.

    This demonstrates the smug superiority of the medical industry.

    Power over people, to do as they like. Like the common practise of helping themselves to parts from dead bodies.

    These dead babies would be better in a garbage disposal. They would decay and return to dust.

    Instead of a glass jar for all eternity.

    Heartless cruel medical swine!

    • FEDUP MD

      I am guessing from your name that you have never been pregnant, nor miscarried before. Coming from someone with multiple pregnancies and multiple miscarriages, I am so appreciative of this author of seeing these for what they are- someone’s baby, and something beautiful because of it- rather than something to throw in the trash with the offal to be discarded. I would be so glad that someone else saw my baby and saw something real and touching, not something disgusting to be discarded with the trash. Miscarriage is something not widely discussed, nor is is something that we are supposed to openly grieve. I am very appreciative of this article.

      • Vladimir Ross

        I did not intend to offend or upset you.

        The thrust of what I’m saying is, if you grieve for a miscarried baby it should be properly buried with due respect, according to your cultural norms.

        It is hard to understand how you support the idea of your miscarried baby being kidnapped by doctors and then preserved for all time in a glass jar. To be peered at by generations of a privileged few. While you mourn.

        Is that a dignified end for a dead child? My suggestion was that the dead child be returned to the dust, where we will all go one day.

        Hopefully with dignity. Better than the glass jar.

        I am questioning the dignity of eternal preservation in a glass jar. While the distraught parents grieve. And I am questioning the very dubious ethics of those who make this happen.

        Sorry again If I caused you distress. This was not my intention.

        • PamelaWibleMD

          The optimal solution is to always offer to parents and patients their own body parts so that they can choose to use their own cultural rituals to grieve.
          Since I do not know the parents, I can not return these embryos.

          I think there is a place for display of human remains to spur enlightening discussions. I believe there may be items like lampshades made of the skin of Holocaust victims on display at museums. This reminds us that it is not ethical to do such things.

          The big question to ask: What is the motive of the person who saves such an object? personal gain? collective healing?

          • Vladimir Ross

            This issue is very big in Britain right now. There have been all sorts of upsets at the revelations about the disposal of dead babies. Previously kept secret by the medical industry. As is almost everything else.

            A few years ago, a hospital in Liverpool, Alder Hey became infamous when body parts of children were found. In the aforementioned glass jars. The identity of the organs’ donors was known and the perpetrators lied about what they had done.

            At first they said “tissue samples” had been taken. But what they meant by this euphemism “tissue samples” was hearts, lungs, brains, pancreas, liver, kidneys and anything else they could cut out.

            What the parents got back to bury, first time around, was an empty skin, packed with sand to make up the weight. A typical deviousness only doctors would be cruel enough to try. Because they had the power and they thought they would get away with it. Typical medical arrogance. But they got caught rotten.

            The parental grief was overwhelming. The organs were later returned to the parents who had the anguish of second funerals when the returned organs were laid to rest.

            This deception went on for years. The question is “If you can’t trust a doctor not to steal from a dead body, what can you trust them with?

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Was not aware of this issue in Britain. I’m sure this goes on in many places. Unethical. And shows a lack of respect for life.

          • querywoman

            Karen Silkwood’s father wrote of the same issue. His daughter’s body was stripped right down to her female organs without his permission.
            His lawyer dramatically asked someone in court if he got Karen’s heart. He did.

          • Vladimir Ross

            Thanks for that. Apart from a doctor being Britain’s most prolific mass murderer, or serial killer, if you prefer, the Alder Hey experience reminds us of the treachery inherent in the medical industry. And the depths of depravity to which they will sink. When they think they can get away with it. I don’t think the good Dr. would have a moment’s hesitation about killing his victims. He probably thought it was his right to decide. Because he was a doctor. Same as the rats in Alder Hey. And elsewhere!

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Regardless of intellectual capacity..destructive behavior..knows no bounds…economically, intellectually, racially, sexually, age wise…

          • querywoman

            Doctors stole Karen Silkwood’s because they wanted to study the effects of radiation on her.
            Yet, during life, the doctors told her she had nothing to worry about.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Horrible circumstances…the use of infant donor organs…without consent…

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Agreed.

          • Bruce

            Unchecked power tends to stimulate arrogance and abuse in ALL human beings, not just in doctors. The real problem is unchecked power in general, not just doctors in particular.

          • Kerry

            I’m not a religeous person but “Amen”

          • querywoman

            I have been researching Alder Hey. Psycho doctors who steal body body parts will come again.
            I found an exceptionally disturbing “Christian” site that castigated the parents for being overly attached to their children’s body parts! It was linked to a pro-organ transplantation site.
            All organs should be donated voluntarily, without pressure or even asking for them!
            What a sad new age in which we are living that steals organs and tissues from the dead!
            Traditional Judaism requires that corpses found be buried, even those of a non-Jew.
            Humans developed burial rites and decent disposal of our dead! Lesser animals don’t do that!

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Not ethical..to kill people to use their skin for business ventures? That is putting it mildly.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Sometimes seeing the skulls of the victims of genocide (for example) can teach us the real horrors of genocide. Is there not something to learn from the tragedies of the past?

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Yes…respectable forensic medicine can resolve and also open doors to other criminal acts.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            I guess it is all the intention of the person. Look inside for meaning.

          • Bruce

            TOUCHE’: To forget — to repress — our knowledge of such past horrors is to invite their repetition.

          • Mandy Miller

            I am currently reading a book about the Rwandan genocide called “We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families”. It opens with the author going to a church in the province of Kibungo over a year after genocide ended, a church where the Tutsis who had taken refuge there were slaughtered. It was left untouched, the bodies left where they fell, as a reminder. The fallen bodies bear witness. I think that’s important.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            It is. How we die is very telling.

          • Bruce

            I think that you have stated the real solution in your first sentence above. Perhaps this optimal solution should even be required by law, so as to help existing habits to change. Patients / parents must be offered disposition over their own — as a “first right of refusal”.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Yes.

        • FEDUP MD

          Sadly, the cultural norm is to pretend that these miscarriages never happened. Women (and their partners) are not supposed to openly grieve. When I miscarried, I got such gems from others like , “Oh well, next time will work out better,” and ” it’s for the best.” There really is no cultural tradition in this country of recognizing the reality of these lives, but that they are something to be passed over, forgotten, and gotten rid of as quickly as possible. While keeping fetuses around is not ideal, the only legal alternative is to throw them in the trash, if the families do not claim them. In some states, such as Illinois, returning remains under 20 weeks is not even legal. If you dislike these options, then I would suggest you work to legally expand options available.

          You know, as much as I overall hate celebrity culture and worship, I am appreciative of some celebrities who have shared their experiences of miscarriage (Pink, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Nicole Kidman). It is one of the first step to not making discussion of it a taboo.

        • Jill Mckenzie

          Do not be so defensive…as a mom..the thought of my embryo or ovaries or fetus…or any other part of my body being accessed without my consent…angers me..

          • Jill Mckenzie

            I know of pictures from studying photography…a picture of a dead child somehow preserved the child’s soul. In a more current light, I knew a woman who had a full term stillborn child..who keeps a photo of her baby..to be close…to save those feelings..to remember..

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Alas, the entire reason I wrote this piece. To give the proper respect to the once-living. People are not trash.

          • Vladimir Ross

            Hi again Pam

            Once again I appeal to you to discontinue the macabre habit of keeping human remains as keepsakes. For any reason. Come on, how much are medical students going to learn from this bizarre habit?

            If a mother kept an aborted foetus for years, preserved or otherwise, she would surely be recommended for psychiatric treatment.

            Only doctors do it. I question very loudly your father’s very dubious motives.

            It is sick and disgusting.

            You might feel liberated when you are able to “let them go”.

            And get a life.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            I know patients who keep their miscarriages and other body parts. How would you know what is appropriate for another person to heal?

          • Vladimir Ross

            We are not talking about healing.

            Your father and you, were not, and are not “healing”.

            You are keeping dead remains as a memento, a souvenir. To be shown as a party trick to impressionable students(?) A prize from your father’s position as a doctor. At a time when they were untouchable. Devoid of all morality.

            If parents want to keep their miscarried children that is up to them. none of my business, if it helps them to heal.

            Your excuses and rationale are deplorable. And very desperate.

            Only a doctor could defend this outrageous behaviour. Why not just say: “look here, I’m a doctor and I will do what I please, and to hell with you all”.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            No. Not a momento. Not a souvenir. Not a prize Reread the essay.

          • Bruce

            Unfortunately, some individuals are prone to project their own excesses — or their own tendencies to excess — onto others, regardless of how little their projections fit those others — as a way to dis-own their own excesses, and to suppress their own guilt about their own excesses, or about their own tendencies to excess.

          • Vladimir Ross

            Jill, thank you for that. I have been haunted by doctors for about forty years. They are the most dangerous, arrogant people on the planet. Power without responsibility. And paid truck-loads of money for it. Women in particular have more reason to avoid them. Especially for unnecessary, humiliating “examinations” which they simply beg women to have. Sometimes referred to as “non-sexual” examinations. Where the woman is put onto a table naked.

            For money, power and sexual thrills for the doctor. And doctors tell women any lies re the risk of cancer, to get them where they want.

            A recent development is that they can now film these “examinations” using wrist-watch devices. Then they can re-live the examination in the comfort of their chair at home. Or a prison cell. Except the one who committed suicide when he got caught. After secretly filming for over twenty years. So much for “non-sexual” then.

            Remember that the nazis employed doctors to torture prisoners. All in the name of science.

            Jill, I hope this does not sound “defensive”.

            Very best wishes.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            There are a lot of court records available that talk of many of these nightmare scenarios…I have had my share., and.when one conveys the experience..always met with disbelief…! I spoke with a lawyer and he gave me a clue as to how much it would cost to try and prosecute.

          • Vladimir Ross

            What it would cost in money?

            Then what it would cost in personal trauma. With your life shredded in public. And being called a liar for sexually assaulting the good doctor in his white coat!

            Things are changing, slowly. They do not get away with it the way they used to do. But ultimately it is up to women to avoid male doctors like the plague. And to demand all women clinics with absolutely no men present, and a locked door to prevent anyone walking in unannounced.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            No way! That kind of thing is something I am totally against. With over 30% of medical professional s being ‘gay’..!? Women doctors can be as brutal as men doctors. Criminal conduct and segregation do not belong in the medical field. That idea is terrible! What makes you think that would be a good solution?

          • carecanada

            Doctors have saved my life. I would not be alive if it were not for modern medicine.. I did not care if they were “compassionate” or sentimental or empathic when my life was on the line: I did not care if they had a bedside manner either. I only wanted surgical expertise and knowledge when facing cancer more than once.. I empathise with your fear and loathing.though and know about Nazi doctors etc. ( I was raised Christian Scientist,myself.)

      • PamelaWibleMD

        Thanks FEDUP MD. From your name, I assume we may have other commonalities. Unfortunately medicine is often practiced without heart and soul. Holding these little embryos is my attempt to honor what we have lost.

        • Vladimir Ross

          That is the poorest excuse I have ever heard for stealing dead babies. And collecting their bodies on a shelf.

          Burke and Hare would be proud of that rubbish.

          Instead of holding them, why don’t you do the decent thing and bury them? Honor them with a proper burial. The fact you don’t know their identity really does not come into it.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            I do not have any dead babies in jar.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Did you have a bad experience with a doctor, Vladimir?

      • querywoman

        What do Vladimir’s bad experiences have to do with this? I have had umpteen bad experiences with doctors and a few good ones.
        Perhaps the desires to conduct funeral rites and adequately dispose of our dead are part of what makes humans the highest animal.

        • PamelaWibleMD

          He does not trust a doctor with a dead mouse. He obviously has had some negative experiences with doctors.

          • querywoman

            I have had some very negative experiences with doctors and some good ones. I currently have excellent doctors.
            But I’m the one responsible for my health, not them.
            There will always be bad and good doctors.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            There will always be bad and good in everyone. We each have the potential to be a saint or a serial killer.

          • Sheri

            Yep

        • Sheri

          Someone please explain what the difference is between a cadaver and a calcified embryo. In my opinion, they are both teaching tools. Both dead bodies. What about Egyptian exhibits which include mummies?

          • querywoman

            Native Americans want their dead ancestors reburied after study.
            Personally, I want King Tut re-entombed. His penis isn’t even with the rest of his body.
            I am surprised the Muslims in Egypt allow their mummies to be exhibited and studied.
            In Tehran, the medical schools receive cadaver bodies with rope burns around their necks.
            Doctors in North Texas once stole black bodies from graves to use as cadavers,
            Will this stuff happen again? Of course!
            I hated seeing the king unearthed in England recently.
            These arguments aren’t winnable.
            I’m paying on a cremation plan.
            One of the most gruesome exploitations of the dead was the European use of ground-up mummies as medicine and paint. Cannibalism!

    • Jill Mckenzie

      I feel your anger! In the course of studying embryos and fetuses the medical community has learned of what and why may have led to the issue to begin with..sometimes. Regardless..the Mom and Dad have a right to consent..or not. If the issues are that Mom and Dad did not really care…they are the vulnerable. The undefended.

    • Richard Willner

      You can disagree with Pam but to call her names is absolutely out of bounds.

      Richard Willner
      The Center for Peer Review Justice.

  • Lynne

    I had no idea. Pamela, thank you for bringing this out in the open so we can have a conversation about it. It’s important to share our feelings no matter where we stand on a topic. I appreciate taht you are willing to step up for what you believe. Very inspiring!

  • querywoman

    Pamela, sometimes I address the doctors who post here as “Dr. John” or “Dr. Mary.” I address you as “Pamela” because I feel a sisterhood with you.
    I’m not sure we are on the same wavelength, but we are communicating.
    Your father thought he was being compassionate by rescuing the fetuses from the hospital incinerator. You felt compassionate by carrying one around with you as a reminder.
    I’m with Vladimir. I think you should burn it or give it some kind of burial. Is there a sacred place you could put it? Could you inter it in some little monument and make it like the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?”
    A little memorial tomb to represent all the babies who never made it to viability?
    The picture of that little baby on the penny disturbs me. Perhaps that the fetal position is sacred. It reminds me of the embryo that appeared in my abstract oil painting. I have not been able to pull the painting out since you posted that to look at it again.
    Too emotional!
    As I wrote. I am not a mother. I also seriously doubt that I have ever been pregnant and miscarried.
    But most people think of me as a mother!
    The internist-type female endo I had in my 40s chose not to be a mother so she could devote more time to her profession. In her case, she was very maternal. I asked her if she had helped diabetics complete their pregnancies, and she said she had. To me that qualifies her as a mother.
    She was so much better than the female reproductive endocrinologist, who was a mother, whom I’d seen about 10 years before.

    • Vladimir Ross

      Thanks very much for your support.

      And for your quiet, dignified eloquence on this subject. That last piece was empathic and said absolutely everything to Pamela. If she does not heed that, she is just a doctor.

      Your comments are silently screaming aloud for justice for the foetuses.

      Pamela, if you read this, please do the decent thing as suggested above.

      Please give your “specimens” the dignity of returning to their Earth mother. Please release them from their glass prison.

      There is no justification for “specimens”. What on earth can you get in the form of “comfort” from bringing then out occasionally? That a doctor should think in those terms demonstrates the utter soulless depravity of the medical industry.

      • PamelaWibleMD

        There is no glass prison. As I mentioned they are not in jars. My intentions are pure. Had I buried this tiny calcified embryo, we would not be having this discussion.
        The discussion is about honoring these little lives. There are many ways to do that. This little one has a message for us as revealed in my essay. I never went searching for the unborn. They came to me. There is a deeper message here. And it is beautiful – to me.

        • Kerry

          I agree, way too many things get buried.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Sometimes not burying things is healing.

        • querywoman

          Though I would prefer that you bury it, many miscarried fetuses go out in the trash with modern pads and tampons or down the modern toilet.
          As a doctor, do you think that most miscarriages aren’t even known for what they were?
          I want to remind you that sometimes fundamentalists invade abortion clinics or go through their trash to give fetuses rites and burial.
          I think it was very brave for you to state that you carry a tiny calcified fetus with you.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Most miscarriages are never known. I didn’t know pro-lifers were digging through trash bins for fetuses. But why is it brave to carry a tiny calcified fetus?

          • querywoman

            You didn’t get it? Some radical pro-lifer might target you and take it away for burial!
            I didn’t want to have to type that out for you.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            I’m a literal person. Thanks. Pro-lifers should search the sewer system. Maybe most miscarriages end up there.

        • Sheri

          Beautiful to me, also.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Yes. Call me Pamela. I am not into hierarchy and I always invite my patients to call me by the name that brings them the most comfort. Some choose Pamela. Others Dr. Wible. I’ll answer to almost anything except “mom.” I’ve never been one – by choice. At 13 I made a decision to caretake the forgotten children. I have been a foster parent and I love that. Never heard my biological clock ticking . . .

      I have collections of gallstones, heart valves, and other items considered “medical waste” in addition to a few embryos. I love to share these items with patients as teaching tools so the thought of discarding such beautiful sacred pieces of life is not something I have considered doing.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Here’s an essay on my collection of gallstones: http://www.idealmedicalcare.org/blog/godiva-gallstones/

      Is there anything unethical about this? I don’t think so, but I wish to here from others who are having trouble with these collections.

      • PamelaWibleMD

        to hear from others . . .

        • Kerry

          We could widen this topic to aborted babies, noone ever offered me the babies I chose to abort. I was told they were not babies yet. What happened to them? 1970′s

          If we want to save anyone or change anything we will have to face ourselves and the practices we have deemed “practice as usual”. I think this is what Pamela is doing.

          • 17 minutes ago

          Why aren’t there more doctor’s in this discussion?

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Yes. Opinions for physicians are welcomed. What do my colleagues think about “medical waste” and human life?

          • Kerry

            This will be my last post, promise. As a child, I use to siti in a Christian Science Church and on the wall ite read “The Truth Shall Set You Free” My experience has been the opposite. The Truth doesn’t sell and it is certain to get you banished.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Schopenhauer’s Thee Stages of Acceptance:
            1) Ridicule
            2) Violent opposition
            3) Acceptance

            I’ve experienced all three. A lot of #1.
            Still believe truth will set you free.

          • Kerry

            O.K. I’m breaking my promise. Change/Accecptance. Oxymoron?

            The most common form of oxymoron involves an adjective-noun combination of two words. For example, the following line from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King contains two oxymora:

            “And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.”

            Other examples of oxymora of this kind are:

            Dark light

            Living dead

            Guest host (also: Permanent guest host)

            Mad wisdom

            Mournful optimist

            Violent relaxation

            It seems that when tough topics are brought up no one wants to respond progress is slower than it needs to be.

          • Sheri

            I believe there aren’t more doctors responding here because doctors are the ones who are tossing babies into the trash can and naming them medical waste. How could you defend yourself doing that?

          • Kerry

            It is earily quiet. I’m not a frequent flyer on these types of venues, and I’ve taken up far too much air time, but in their defense, they are probably busy saving many lives as well, and suffering under the same social gag order we all are. Well, not me, I was alrealy chewed up and spit out. I would like to ask the people with power though, to take more time in their every day lives and more responsibility for allowing real dialouge to happen, about the tough stuff, so we can see progress rather than so much destruction. Everyone ought to have a voice. Changing the paradigm, rather than looking up the chain for approval, and amongst peers, perhaps looking down too. I know there are a ton out there that already aspire to this, unfortunatley not enough yet to tip the scales. While on my soap box one evening with the Saudi students I host, I found myself saying. “Money cannot be the bottom line” Try explaining that to a level one English student. They offered $500 for making them understand what I meant. When the task was accomplished, the $500 was handed over, but it was only forgotten rent money. LOL

          • Jill Mckenzie

            When abortion was once again made legal..certain states…what went on was probably horrific. I read of a group of women RN’s, maybe doctors, who were illegally performing abortions on demand. Many of them were eventually prosecuted. I spoke with a women who was carrying a stillborn..no one would intervene..had to be a natural expulsion. Estrogen fed cancers..women who would die very quickly..so many issues.

      • Kerry

        I Loved This! My daughter recent post of FB

        “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
        -Thoreau

        • PamelaWibleMD

          Thanks Kerry. :)

          • ninguem

            You wanna see my collection of used Hemoccult cards?

          • PamelaWibleMD

            YOU are cracking me up. hey, if you look at the used ones in the right light and at the correct angle – they smile back at you!!

    • Kerry

      We could widen this topic to aborted babies, noone ever offered me the babies I chose to abort. I was told they were not babies yet. What happened to them? 1970′s

      • Kerry

        If we want to save anyone or change anything we will have to face ourselves and the practices we have deemed “practice as usual”. I think this is what Pamela is doing.

        • Kerry

          Why aren’t there more doctor’s in this discussion?

          • Richard Willner

            Kerry,
            Physicians are not here because they are working or sitting behind a book. The young man or woman who is selected to go to Med School is both very bight and very hard working. And they work incredible number of hours.

            Who better to discuss the medical issues of today than a highly competent experienced physician like Pam. I respect her and her special method of communication.

            Richard Willner
            The Center for Peer Review Justice

          • Kerry

            Well, I’m not really sure what you are referring too, I respect her and her special method also. Did I imply otherwise?

          • Kerry

            It’s going to take more than Dr. Wible’s voice to turn the tides on the big issues facing todays world, and I just don’t see it happening.

          • Kerry

            And again, I feel compelled to go a little deeper. The question could be asked from a lower station in life, how can the ones who are selected to go to Med School who are both very bight and very hard working and work incredible number of hours, be so conditoned as to accept such practices? What is missing in our suppossed civilized society to allow for such things?

          • Kerry

            Or perhaps there’s an elephant in the room

          • Guest

            Could it be what’s expected of them when they arrive to fulfill their dreams and make a difference? The sacrifice? The long hours, the completive atmosphere? These are just a few things I’ve heard. I’m just assuming but is it militant too? Just a couple of ideas.

          • Kerry

            Could it be what’s expected of them when they arrive to fulfill their dreams and make a difference? The sacrifice? The long hours, the compitition? These are just a few of the things I’ve heard about intern days. Is it militant also, does one have a voice in the process? Just a couple of ideas.

          • Sheri

            A gigantic elephant.

          • Sheri

            I think this “practice” is just the tip of the iceberg.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Medicine is an apprenticeship profession. We learn from our superiors.

          • Kerry

            Superiors have much to teach but humility allows for evolution. If we beleive in evolution we should know that one generation only has a finite amount of wisdom to pass along to the next, so that they can carry the torch further than where we have been able to take it. I guess I’m trying to say, the social structure that I’ve witnessed and experienced does not allow for this. Therefor we get stuck.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Yes. some have limiting thoughts, but we have so much we can learn from one another. Every patient is a storyteller. If we listen with open hearts and minds we can grow exponentially. I have learned how to be a doctor from my patients.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            There are brilliant doctors and not so brilliant doctors. There are popular doctors and not so popular doctors. There are doctors with good communication skills..some that really do not communicate with patients..just a call from a LPN CMA.

          • Kerry

            I’m not sure what you are trying to say.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            All doctors are not created equal ..regardless of formal training. A relative who has a medical degree explained something to me as well. Depending on their choices…maybe they did have concentration in pathology, only in urology. One doctor I went to admitted how terrible he was at interpreting x-ray films..he would depend on the x-ray specialist. I think that some doctors are born naturals, have really good instincts. Some struggle for years…

          • Kerry

            Thank you, Jill. One of the main flaws that I see in our social structure is the focus on strength and the top and the number one’s, not allowing for weakness. So many are taught to hide and for lack of better word, puff themselves up. In this situation, that you are referring, it is easy to imagine the doctor not being able to read xray’s, perhaps it has to do wiht his eye structure but what if he’s a prodigy in another area. If weakness’s could be comfortably disclosed, without fear or humiliation, our society would not have far fewer throw aways. Far more people could contribute to the greater good. As an assistant in elementary schools, I had the privlege of sitting with young eager children, wanting to succeed, wanting to please. The message they were given back was you do not measure up. They walk away with a completly different image of the ones who can read fast. I don’t think this sums up intelligence or potential.

          • Kerry

            In trying to find a good word for “puffing up” i stumbled upon this….

            Long before pet birds and parrots learn human words, they communicate to us with body language. Like vocalizations, this comes naturally to parrots. Not only do they show moods, emotions and forthcoming behavior with the way they use their bodies — especially their feathers — parrots also learn to read human intentions by observing human postures. It’s not unusual for pet birds to know more about what their people say with their bodies than their people know about what the birds are saying with theirs.

            Perhaps there are too many parrots out there who make the mark but are afraid.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Each individual has strengths and weakness’s, I agree. I am a visual artist and have been prescribed glasses for vision, (sometimes I did not wear them..I saw and could draw better without them). A dear friend of long ago was a Physicist, a PHD, theorist. He told me he had no visual abilities. He was not the most honest communicator at times, and very often made judgement s that were very wrong..assumptions. He had an agenda and assumed that his was the correct one and mine was not. He could not draw anything. Drawing excellently alone, does not necessarily a great artist make. It is the sum of all parts, thinking etc. I think that being a good medical doctor means embracing many, many things. Not just technical skill alone etc. Is what I am saying making sense? My husband had a more invasive thoracic surgery than I had, cardiac, I had breast cancer surgery…he never had any and still does not have any pain of any kind..I have chronic pain issues, muscle and bone problems..

          • Kerry

            Yes it makes a lot of sense. It seems that there is only one kind of intelligence that is note worthy. Unforturnatley, a lot of the people that have that kind of intelligence and degrees to back them think they are Gods and everyone else in beneath them, but there are many other gifts that are needed to balance the system.

          • Guest

            Another thought I just had, and I’m certainly not saying this is the case, just a thought; but different personalities are likely to have the capacity to feel more compassion than others. Maybe it’s the same with different types of intelligences. So if you are only going to allow one kind to think that they are truly superior, at the risk of excluding others, there are likely to be imbalances.

          • Kerry

            Another thought I just had, and I’m certainly not saying this is the case, just a thought; but different personalities are likely to have the capacity to feel more compassion and empathy than others. Maybe it’s the same with different types of intelligences. So if you are only going to allow one kind to think that they are truly superior, at the risk of excluding others, there are likely to be imbalances.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            God by definition, I believe, is not a ‘human’ entity. People with elevated or God-like feelings about themselves usually fall into a mental illness category. Or, those that think they are ‘instruments of God’ etc.

          • Kerry

            Superior would have been a better choice of words, but that doesn’t quite capture the essense of it all.

            Fish, by Derek Sivers

            Fish don’t know they’re in water.

            If you tried to explain it, they’d say, “Water? What’s water?”

            They’re so surrounded by it, that it’s impossible to see.

            They can’t see it until they get outside of it.

          • Kerry

            by Derek Sivers….

            This is how I feel about culture.

            We’re so surrounded by people who think like us, that it’s impossible to see that what we think are universal truths are just our local culture.

            We can’t see it until we get outside of it.

            I was born in California and grew up with what I felt was a normal upbringing with normal values.

            I was speaking to a business school class here in Singapore. I asked, “How many people would like to start their own company some day?” In a room of 50 people, only one hand (reluctantly) went up.

            If I would have asked this question to a room of 50 business school students in California, 51 hands would have gone up. (Someone would have run in from the hallway just to raise their hand.)

            Thinking maybe they were just shy, I asked, “Really!? Why not?” – and asked individuals. Their answers:

            “Why take the risk? I just want security.”

            “I spent all this money on school, and need to make it back.”

            “If I fail, it would be a huge embarassment to my family.”

            Then I realized my local American culture. The land of entrepreneurs and over-confidence. I had heard this before, but I hadn’t really felt it until I could see it from a distance.

            All of my Singaporean friends live with their parents. Even pretty successful ones, even married ones, even up to age 35, live with their parents at their parents’ home.

            When I told one that I left home at 17, she was horrified. She said, “Isn’t that horribly insulting to your parents? Weren’t they devastated?”

            Then I realized my local American culture again. The emphasis on individualism, rebellion, following your dreams. I had heard this before, but I hadn’t really felt it until I could see it from a distance.

            My culture isn’t in the center. It’s off on the edge, like one petal in a flower, like they all are. Not right or wrong – just one of many options.

            Yes, the rest of the world can enjoy a good laugh at the stereotypical American – just now realizing he’s not the center of the universe.

            I’m just a fish who didn’t know he was in water.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            Very good!

          • Kerry

            Thank you, Jill. One of the main flaws that I see in our social structure is the focus on strength and the top and the number one’s, not allowing for weakness. So many are taught to hide and for lack of better word, puff themselves up. In this situation, that you are referring, it is easy to imagine the doctor not being able to read xray’s, perhaps it has to do wiht his eye structure but what if he’s a prodigy in another area. If weakness’s could be comfortably disclosed, without fear or humiliation, our society would have far fewer throw aways. Far more people could contribute to the greater good. As an assistant in elementary schools, I had the privlege of sitting with young eager children, wanting to succeed, wanting to please. The message they were given back was you do not measure up. They walk away with a completly different image of the ones who can read fast. I don’t think this sums up intelligence or potential

          • Kerry

            Pamela, I’m not getting notifications on this site anymore, so when I have time, I scroll to see if there’s anything new but some are missed. Just thought you’d want to know.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Weird.

          • Kerry

            did I get the boot?

          • PamelaWibleMD

            No. Your responses are posting.

          • Sheri

            I think med students should be discussing these issues, right along side of Pamela Wible.

          • Kerry

            She could speak to this better but I know she has done a lot of work in this area. In fact she has some video of the students responses after her presentations. They’re quite hopeful. Ask her for the link.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            According to someone I knew who was a medical student…they are required to study medical ethics. The case that he brought up was two sisters (they were raised as girls, twins) who were not..exactly. When menstruation issues came up..

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Kerry – see it happening because . . . it already is. Just the fact that we are having this public conversation in the first big step. Thank you for all your wisdom and insight.

          • Kerry

            There must be multitudes of retired doctor’s that have the time now and the knowledge needed, to open this conversation up further. Maybe we can get the word out.

          • Kerry

            Nevermind, I already know the answer to this. Doctor’s have there own chat rooms, they keep themselves insulated from the commoners.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Really need more open dialogue among patients docs. Can’t wait for DC. Some of these conversations should happen locally.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            I know many bored retired doctors though not certain this topic excites them.

      • querywoman

        I normally stay out of abortion disputes, because I don’t consider any argument there winnable.
        However, I don’t like to point this out, but killing is an inevitable part of life.
        There are parents who kill their already born children, do some time in prison or a mental institution, and eventually get out.
        Some never get out.

  • Richard Willner

    Pam,

    I appreciate what you are trying to do. You always have an unique method to your communication. Competent Physicians do not have to be dull and boring.

    Richard Willner
    The Center For Peer Review Justice

    • Kerry

      I want to be sure you know that I mean know ill will with my next comment, but, it is the competent surgeons, on the front lines, putting the babies in the trash. Who better to speak up? Are some in favor of it? If the details were released to the general public the laws would surely change.

      • Kerry

        …not only laws but I believe we would then see a change in human behaviour and social norms.

      • Sheri

        How could a physician not become completely callus regarding the sanctity of human life and the welfare of patients when it is acceptable to toss a living baby into the trash? This befuddles my mind.

        • PamelaWibleMD

          Befuddling yes. Maybe, like in the animal kingdom, when it is known that an offspring will die, the mother walks away from the baby (or eats it).
          What do you think Sheri?

          • Sheri

            Hmmm….are you implying that since we are animals, throwing a baby in the trash is our way of walking away or eating it, in just a more sophisticated form? Or are you saying throwing living babies/medical waste in the trash makes us on par with the lower consciousness of the species? Maybe it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other?

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Just saying there may be a precedent to this behavior in the animal kingdom.

          • Jill Mckenzie

            There are too many complex individual circumstances. Doctors just trashing babies…as individual issues and circumstances exist there.

          • PamelaWibleMD

            Obviously the right decision is different in every case. Need honest communication to help parents/patients decide what is right for them. Decisions should be collaborative.

  • DrFreedom

    Dr. Ron Paul recalled a story about one of his experiences as a baby doctor. He delivered 4,000 babies before working for 24 years as member of the US House of Representatives. Dr. Paul stated, “This whole notion of life not being valuable, just is something I have never been able to accept. I happened to walk into an operating room where they were doing an abortion on a late pregnancy. They lifted out a small baby that was able to cry and breathe. They put it in a little bucket in the corner of the room and pretended it wasn’t there. I walked down the hallway and a baby was born early, slightly bigger than the baby that they just put in the bucket. They wanted to save this baby, so they might have had 10 doctors in there doing everything conceivable. Who are we to decide that we pick and throw one away and pick up and struggle to save the other one? Unless we resolve this and understand that life is precious and that we must protect life, we can’t protect liberty.”

    Regarding dead babies and saving their tiny bodies as momentoes, i see nothing wrong with Pamela’s notion that we we keep the memory of a tiny life alive. Who is going to keep the memories alive of the tens of millions of babies aborted by the US medical system. Will anyone recover the memory of their precious lives from the waste basket of life?

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Thanks DrFreedom. We are so polarized in this country – pro-choice vs. pro-life – and meanwhile we do not have the open discourse that is needed to progress as a civilization. What is life? How is it valued (or not)? Who decides? Just opening up the conversation and thank you for your wisdom.

      • Alice Robertson

        It wasn’t always this way…there was a time when God was a reality to most people…but now we have turned God’s opinion into a civil rights discussion of injustice and a lopsided vision where man is in charge (under the guise of intellectualism). It’s really ashame, but I think science only brings God into a better focus not a mystical one where each man decides for himself.

        The ultrasound is a tool of science that is protecting life and it’s amazing ability to see what God has knit together. It speaks louder than our attempts at conversations…Oh but if the beating heart of the mother and child could speak it would resound to the world of a Creator and persuade at a level much stronger than our online debates ever could or can.

        Surely the most beautiful site in the whole world is watching a mother and child nurture together through care and play.

    • Kerry

      Thank you! This is devastating beyond measure. I’ve no excuses other than to say I was a product of my environment, young and stupid. We can learn by our mistakes if we are wiliing to walk through the pain and call things by name.
      On the topic of “Truth” I’m reminded of Rosa Parks. She’d experienced and witnessed so many glaring injustices every day of her life,and so much persecution there was nothing left for them to take. So she sat down, putting the spotlight on the glaring truth and redemption not only for herself but for countless others.

      • Kerry

        and found redemption, not only for herself but for countless others. Thank you Dr. Freedom for the hanus truth.

        • Kerry

          which brings me round to topics like….Oppression and Free Speech in the USA (does it really exist without severe consequences)

          Criminalizing mental illness

          Patient screening practices in the medical field

          Nothing but euphemisms to work with in the real world, do they allow for the change that’s really needed (Real Communication) Or is money really the only true goal?

          Abortion & STI’s: If youth were allowed access to the gruel and cruel facts would there be more hopeful statistical data.?

          STI’s and actual sexual norms in our own community

    • Jill Mckenzie

      The need for honest communication and education to improve everyone’s lives..is very important. Solutions for birth control need to be addressed properly. When the religious community bans birth control and education…or the medical community limits education, how does this help? All the excuses or rational for not providing education..those abortion statistic, make me wonder. I think it is true tat just ‘talking’ and visual aids cannot really provide the real depth provided through personal experience. I have heard statements to the affect of..not really intelligent..or emotionally mature enough…one has to make decisions for them…etc.

    • Margaret Houlehan

      Oh Please. The same “Dr Paul” who believes in limited government also believes he has the right to interfere with the moct personal decision a woman will make? Are you really quoting this crazy old man?

    • Margaret Houlehan

      fetuses, not babies.

  • Guest

    So I can’t help but imaging others watching through a critical lens from a safe distance. “this is why you don’t bring topics like this up”, they are saying smugly. I want to thank everyone who has posted both pro and con on the subject. It would be cool if we could find a way to turn it from combative to respect, without loosing anything.

  • Kerry

    So I can’t help but imagining, others watching through a critical lens from a safe distance. they are saying smugly “this is why you don’t bring topics like this up”, I want to thank everyone who has posted both pro and con on the subject. It would be cool if we could find a way to turn the tone from combative to respectful, without loosing anything.

    • Sheri

      I agree.

  • Nima Dinyari

    This is a great article. Really eye opening. I can’t speak to this from a religious view but from a spiritual view and I can say that life is precious. A lose of life is very difficult to understand. Losing one unexpectedly, either previously born or not, is difficult for everyone who loved them. Abortion is difficult. I don’t think anyone involved in that process goes away the same but the choice needs to be available to the individual’s who want to make it.

  • Jill Mckenzie

    Perhaps writing a script for correct response (with ad lib allowed) for the miscarriage scenario might help. An explanation to the patient at the time of incident. What is happening, if known why, what the procedure will be for the ‘miscarriage’ and what the options are.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Yes. Open communication is key. We need to trust that patients can make their own best decisions when given all the information. Honor. Respect. Care. Just the basics.

      • Jill Mckenzie

        I was amazed at the information, pre-surgical, my husband was given prior to his surgery. Nothing was left unsaid..video’s, other patients to talk to etc. His specific surgery was an individual technique….he made record recovery time, no long term issues…still lifts and runs and is in tip top shape. Open time for all questions..my son and I stayed at a nearby hotel with discount..a shuttle was provided to go back and forth…cosmetic surgeon also on team.

  • Kerry

    Does this conversation have anything to do with stem cell research. My conspiracy theory mind is feeling like there might be some manipulation behind the topic. Just another thought.

    • Kerry

      Knowing nothing of the topic I realize I can be way off base.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      was not the focus.

    • Kerry

      just saying it seems the perfect segway

  • Name

    I still feel the nightmare I went thr’ in my med school seeing the abortions. 10 yrs after that , this is the only thing I have not been able to cope with!

    • Kerry

      More education, more realistic dialog for young people. Someone else mentioned earlier, noone walks away unscathed. I’ve never escaped from the nightmares myself.

    • PamelaWibleMD

      Have you discussed your feelings publicly? Feel free to write me – or call me: 541-345-2437

  • querywoman

    Kudos to you, Pamela, for all the comments you have received in just a few days.
    There is nothing illegal about your carrying the calcified remains of that fetus with you, though I would prefer that you bury it, entomb it, or cremate.
    It was probably horribly misformed and never viable. I knew that most miscarriages are without you pointing that out. Spontaneous abortion is nature’s way of fixing it.
    I would not paint with genuine mummy pigment, even if were available. However, I do not know what has decomposed into the pigments that I use.
    There are some strange facts in life as we know it, like animals eating other animals for sustenance, and children being conceived but never born as viable.

    I would prefer to be a vegetarian but cannot do to many food intolerances.
    The diet in the mythical Garden of Eden had no source of Vitamin B12.
    There are no easy answers for what to do with human remains. Humans seem to be compelled to honor our deceased.

  • Operation_Granny

    These subjects are excrutiatingly personal and emotional and individual. I consider it a sacred act to donate usable organs for the living if possible. If that is not an option the donation of a cadaver for med school or scientific study would give me solace that the loss had. potential meaning beyond my sorrow. Often miscarriages are due to genetic abnormalities and may provide invaluable information for the medical community. Medical science is producing some amazing information that will change many lives in your lifetime. Having friends who are affected every day by genetic diseases has admittedly altered my perspective
    : CVID, MITO AND CHANNELOPATHY really affect every day of their lives. Who lnows how early in development these. and other issues mightand be discovered?

  • Nancy

    Pamela , what a beautiful piece you wrote!!! Was able to contain my emotions only to the last paragraph. I plan to pass this on to my medical students mentees. Very inspirational. What is the name of your first book? Thank you again, you made my day!

  • LaToya C Polk

    So touching…brought me to tears. My DD was 20 weeks. I wonder allthe time where she is. :-(