The recommendations of the jury were as follows:
In view of the fact that Amniotic Fluid Embolism “is a rare occurrence and has been described as the most dangerous and untreatable condition in obstetrics,” it is the opinion of this Jury that responsible Government, Medical, and Private Associations be encouraged to undertake meaningful and continuing research into the problem, and the results published periodically in appropriate media. This recommendation will presumably be sent to the Federal Minister of Health and other health organizations.
The Jury recognizes the need to ensure that Therapeutic Abortion Com-mittees are effective and efficient, and that approvals are only granted after careful deliberation of all relevant information. The Jury recommends a review of the Criminal Code to provide for revision and direction of the Therapeutic Abortion Committees in the following areas:
Reorganization of the Therapeutic Abortion Committees to include one or more members who are qualified Gynaecologists, Obstetricians, or Internists, one of whom should be present at every meeting of the Committee.
Several times during the inquest witnesses testified that obstetricians/gynaecologists are not routinely members of TAC’s because this would not preclude there preclude their performing abortions under Criminal Code regulations. How ever , the facts remains that an Obs/Gyn is the most qualified health professional to determine that “…. the continuation of the pregnancy of such female person would or would be likely to endanger her life or health ”(Section 251 (4) (c)).
(b) minutes of all Committee meetings are to be fully recorded and retained for an appropriate period.
Adherence to this recommendation would allow for a determination of exactly when a given abortion was approved. It would preclude the nonsense- testimony provided at this inquest.
(C) Patient’s document package for presentation to the Committee should include family doctor’s report, gynaecologist’s report, and ultrasound report.
The jury was concerned that in this case, the family doctor was against the abortion for medical reasons, but his objections were not heard by TAC. As well, many patients might admit to their family doctor that they were under pressure to have an abortion. The ultrasound report might in itself dissuade some women from aborting their children after witnessing their movements on the ultrasound monitor while undergoing this test.
3. It is the opinion of the Jury that all persons seeking Therapeutic Abortion should be provided with an increased level of information relative to Abortion procedures and the potential risks and options inherent therein .We therefore make the flowing recommendations
(A) That counselling services relative to abortion techniques be made available though appropriate existing social service agencies with particular emphasis on information and options relative to the importance of early detection of pregnancy.
(B) That Medical Practitioners be urged to explain fully and frankly the inherent risks involved in Therapeutic Abortion procedures and possible alternative options.
These latter recommendations are aimed at providing informed consent to the patient. Erin Shannon’s mother thought that the TAC could fulfill this role. The jury felt that the obvious lack of formal counselling was a serious omission. No one told Erin she might die as a result of the abortion. Recommendations 2 and 3 will be sent to the federal Minister of Justice.