Woman who nearly died from a miscarriage in Malta flies to Spain and gets life-saving termination


Seattle woman who nearly DIED after suffering a miscarriage in Malta when doctors refused to terminate the baby finally undergoes life-saving abortion in Spain: ‘It was heartbreaking and gut-wrenching’

  • Andrea Prudente, 38, and husband, Jay Weeldreyer, 45, from Washington, were visiting the European island when she suddenly developed heavy bleeding
  • Andrea, who was 16 week pregnant, was told she had a ruptured membrane, detached placenta, and no amniotic fluid – but the fetus still had a heartbeat
  • Medical professionals at Mater Dei Hospital, where she was admitted, refused to terminate the pregnancy since abortion is illegal in Malta
  • The fetus had no chance of survival, and Andrea was at risk for hemorrhaging and for infection, which could have entered her bloodstream and killed her
  • The couple could either wait for the pregnancy to end on its own and hope nothing happens to Andrea, or fly to a nearby country where abortion is allowed 
  • Now, she has been flown to Spain, where she was given pills to stop the fetal heartbeat. Doctors then induced labor and she delivered her daughter’s remains

An American woman who nearly died when doctors in Malta refused to perform an abortion after she began suffering a miscarriage while on her babymoon has finally received a life-saving termination after being flown to Spain to undergo the procedure.

Andrea Prudente, 38, and her husband, Jay Weeldreyer, 45, from Seattle, Washington, were visiting the European island in an attempt to spend some quality time together before welcoming a daughter, when she suddenly developed heavy bleeding and was rushed to the hospital.

The expectant mother, who was 16-weeks pregnant at the time, thought she had suffered from a miscarriage, and an ultrasound showed a ruptured membrane, detached placenta, and no amniotic fluid in the womb – however, the fetus still had a ‘viable’ heartbeat.

This meant that doctors at Mater Dei Hospital, the facility in Malta where she was admitted, refused to terminate the pregnancy – citing laws in the country that ban any form of abortion, despite the fact that Andrea’s life was at serious risk from her condition, and despite the fetus having a ‘zero per cent chance’ of survival.

Andrea and her husband were given two options: sit and wait for the pregnancy to end on its own, and hope that nothing happened to Andrea in the meantime, or take an ‘extremely risky’ flight to a nearby country where abortion is allowed. 

They chose the latter and, after an agonizing wait, Andrea was medically transferred to Majorca, Spain, where she was given pills to stop the fetal heartbeat. Doctors then induced labor and after eight hours, she delivered her daughter’s remains.

A Seattle woman who nearly died from a miscarriage while on a babymoon in Malta has now flown to Spain and gotten a life-saving termination

A Seattle woman who nearly died from a miscarriage while on a babymoon in Malta has now flown to Spain and gotten a life-saving termination

Andrea Prudente, 38, and her husband, Jay Weeldreyer, 45, from Washington, were visiting the European island when she suddenly developed heavy bleeding and was rushed to the hospital

Andrea Prudente, 38, and her husband, Jay Weeldreyer, 45, from Washington, were visiting the European island when she suddenly developed heavy bleeding and was rushed to the hospital

An ultrasound showed that Andrea, who was 16 weeks pregnant, had a ruptured membrane, detached placenta, and no amniotic fluid in the womb - however, the fetus still had a heartbeat

An ultrasound showed that Andrea, who was 16 weeks pregnant, had a ruptured membrane, detached placenta, and no amniotic fluid in the womb – however, the fetus still had a heartbeat

However, Andrea’s life remained at risk right up until her arrival in Spain, with the Today show reporting that there was ‘a significant danger that she was going to bleed out’ during the two-hour flight to the neighboring country.

Andrea told them: ‘I was on a stretcher in the plane, focusing on staying calm and chill and to not have my body do anything scary. We understood there to be a serious risk of hemorrhage during the flight. So yeah, it was really scary.’

After landing, she was transferred to a nearby hospital where she was given two options – take the pill and deliver the deceased fetus or have it surgically removed. She chose the first option.

‘They gave me that first pill that night, which was heartbreaking and hard to emotionally take,’ she admitted.

‘Later they started the tablets and I labored for eight hours, delivering early Saturday morning.’

Andrea called losing their daughter ‘heartbreaking and gut wrenching’ yet a ‘beautiful and cathartic experience,’ adding that doctors allowed her to hold her daughter’s remains (babies are about the size of an avocado at 16 weeks) and helped make arrangements for her burial or cremation.

‘They gave us this little box with blankets to choose from to put her in, and little ceramic stars to write her name on – one would hang on the tree of life in the hospital, and one would go home with us,’ she said. 

‘We made arrangements for what we wanted to happen to her in terms of burial or cremation.’

Andrea received her abortion the same day the Roe v. Wade ruling was overturned by the senate in the United States. 

‘I think some anti-abortion people maybe have never considered instances like this,’ she added. ‘Like, sometimes your ideology crashes into a wall of reality.’ 

In a previous interview with the Today show, Jay recalled feeling ‘elation’ when they found out that they were expecting their first child together. But when he was told their baby ‘wasn’t going to survive,’ their excitement soon turned to pain.

‘I was gutted. Heartbroken. I thought, “What’s next? Is Andrea safe?” he explained. ‘There was an awareness that this wasn’t over yet, and we really don’t get to grieve until it is.’

Infection could have easily enter Andrea’s body through the ruptured membrane and could have made its way into her bloodstream, potentially leading to death. 

On top of that, she also had an umbilical cord protruding from her cervix, which put her at an ‘extreme risk’ of hemorrhaging.

Andrea asked doctors to terminate the pregnancy after discovering the risks, but her request was denied as abortion is currently illegal in Malta – which is located in the Mediterranean sea near Italy. 

Medical professionals at Mater Dei Hospital, where she was admitted, refused to terminate the pregnancy since abortion is illegal in Malta, despite the fetus having no chance of survival

Medical professionals at Mater Dei Hospital, where she was admitted, refused to terminate the pregnancy since abortion is illegal in Malta, despite the fetus having no chance of survival

Andrea was at risk for hemorrhaging and for infection, which could have entered her bloodstream and killed her

Andrea was at risk for hemorrhaging and for infection, which could have entered her bloodstream and killed her

Now, she has been medically transferred to Spain, where she was given pills to stop the fetal heartbeat. Doctors then induced labor and she delivered her daughter's remains

Now, she has been medically transferred to Spain, where she was given pills to stop the fetal heartbeat. Doctors then induced labor and she delivered her daughter’s remains

Doctors for Choice Malta – a non-profit organization made up of pro-choice professionals fighting the abortion ban on the island – reported on its website that women who have abortions in Malta could face a maximum of three years in prison.

Doctors who help carry out the abortions could also face jail time and a permanent revocation of their license, with the company adding, ‘There are no exceptions in the law to allow an abortion even when the woman’s health is at risk, in cases of severe fetal malformation, or in cases of rape or incest.’

Jay previously called Malta's hospital's actions an 'inconceivable form of emotional and psychological torture.' He is seen outside the medical center Andrea was transferred to in Spain

Jay previously called Malta’s hospital’s actions an ‘inconceivable form of emotional and psychological torture.’ He is seen outside the medical center Andrea was transferred to in Spain

‘It wasn’t until a couple days later that we realized the details of the legal restrictions, and that made the behavior of the medical professionals make a lot more sense. It hammered home just how bad our situation was,’ Jay told the Today show.

But Andrea considered taking matters in her own hand, with her husband revealing that she asked him to hit her ‘as hard as he could’ in her stomach to stop the fetus’ heartbeat.

‘There was a moment when Andrea told me she was seriously considering asking me to punch her as hard as I can in the stomach, to start labor or stop the heart,’ he revealed.

‘You are looking at your partner and she’s asking you to do everything that goes against your nature – hurting her, hurting the baby you want – but at the same time it might be the path to save her

‘You’re pleading and pleading, and there’s no way to get the help you want.’

They spent days trying to get her medically evacuated, and according to the couple, Mater Dei Hospital didn’t make the process any easier for them.

Andrea told the Guardian that the hospital was ‘uncooperative in their attempts to leave and in sharing medical records with her insurance company.’

‘I just want to get out of here alive,’ she said to the outlet last week. ‘I couldn’t in my wildest dreams have thought up a nightmare like this.’ 

Andrea called losing their daughter 'heartbreaking and gut wrenching' yet a 'beautiful and cathartic experience.' The hospital in Spain that she was transferred to is pictured

Andrea called losing their daughter ‘heartbreaking and gut wrenching’ yet a ‘beautiful and cathartic experience.’ The hospital in Spain that she was transferred to is pictured

Women who have abortions in Malta could face a maximum of three years in prison. Activists are seen protesting Malta's abortion law earlier this month

Women who have abortions in Malta could face a maximum of three years in prison. Activists are seen protesting Malta’s abortion law earlier this month

Andrea received her abortion the same day the Roe v. Wade ruling was overturned by the senate in the United States. Activists are seen protesting Malta's abortion law

Andrea received her abortion the same day the Roe v. Wade ruling was overturned by the senate in the United States. Activists are seen protesting Malta’s abortion law

They are sharing her story in the hopes of raising awareness, with Andrea explaining, 'I don¿t want this to happen to more people.' Activists are seen protesting Malta's abortion law

They are sharing her story in the hopes of raising awareness, with Andrea explaining, ‘I don’t want this to happen to more people.’ Activists are seen protesting Malta’s abortion law

Jay called Mater Dei Hospital’s actions an ‘inconceivable form of emotional and psychological torture,’ while Andrea added that she feels like she is being ‘traumatized.’

While speaking to the Today show, Jay further slammed the hospital for ‘prolonging his wife’s suffering.’

‘There’s a kind of torture that happens, psychologically, when you’ve been attaching to a pregnancy, seeing her on the ultrasound and making plans, only to learn you can’t have her,’ he added.

‘And then you encounter a medical system that puts you in the situation we’re in now – probably the worst situation imaginable.

‘They have the capacity to provide the help. It’s right there and available. But not only will they not help, but they’re doing things to prolong suffering. We wanted this baby girl, and without water she’s now compressed.’

On top of being terrified for his wife’s health, he was also worried about the cost of her medical treatment, admitting that it has ‘wrecked their finances.’

‘Insurance is arranging this, but we’re responsible for everything above and beyond what they cover,’ he said. 

They are now sharing her story with the world in the hopes of raising awareness and ‘avoiding a tragedy.’

‘I don’t want this to happen to more people,’ Andrea added to the Guardian. 

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