Four months ago in Dr OEM’s public hospital department, Ms H was treated for serious injuries caused by unskilled abortion. Ms H came to Dr OEM’s department from the hospital emergency department, where she had been admitted as an indigent (non-paying) patient unconscious and suffering heavy blood loss. When she regained consciousness under Dr OEM’s care, she explained that she had sought abortion from a retired nurse she knew who occasionally helped women in difficulty. Ms H did not want to give her own full name for fear that she might lose her high school status, if her school learned that she had obtained an abortion. Dr OEM treated Ms H as well as possible, but doubts that she will be able to bear a child in the future. Dr OEM has just been telephoned by a senior police officer to say that the officer wants to interview Dr OEM to find evidence against a resident of the area suspected of performing criminal abortions. The law has heavy penalties against abortion, and women are occasionally imprisoned for obtaining abortion. How should Dr OEM respond, in light of medical, ethical, legal, and human rights aspects of the case?
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