Women's response to reproductive trauma secondary to contraceptive iatrogenesis: A phenomenological approach to the Dalkon Shield case

Katherine Kaby Anselmi, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

This study describes the meaning of the experience of being injured by a birth control method called the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device (IUD). Women whose reproductive organs were irrevocably damaged by the Dalkon Shield are the subjects of this study. In the interest of the feminist perspective which includes the women's health movement, this study focuses on the women's reality of their experience with a defective contraceptive, namely the Dalkon Shield. In addition to the collection of demographic information about the informants and information related to the events preceding the selection of the Dalkon Shield as a contraceptive method, the women's anticipated expectations with the IUD prior to insertion, and impact upon their general health, psyche, marriage, and relationship with others is investigated.^ A triangulation of qualitative data sources from three different groups of women derived at different times and means is combined with the qualitative phenomenological method. The existential-phenomenological tradition offers the best methodological support for investigation of the human meaning of a lived experience. In-depth interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the three phase approach of: (1) discovery; (2) coding the data; and (3) discounting of findings as developed by Taylor and Bogdan (1984). The "HyperQual Version 4" for Macintosh Computer was used to tag and stack data chunks.^ Some major significant findings were: (1) women injured by the Dalkon Shield experienced mild to severe psychosocial and physical trauma. (2) There is more than one outcome of a negative experience with the Dalkon Shield. (3) There is more than one style of coping with the ramifications of a negative experience with the Dalkon Shield. Forty percent of the women interviewed had patterns consistent with mild to moderate post-traumatic stress disorder. (4) Ranges of emotion evolve over time. (5) The negative Dalkon Shield experience can be conceptualized as a phenomenon of six phases which begins with a predisposing belief system of: "blind faith"; "physical trauma"; the perception of doctors' "privileged knowledge"; "violation"; "fury"; and "persistent remorse".^ Implications for health care providers, educators, biomedical researchers, and society are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology|Women's Studies|Health Sciences, Nursing|Education, Health

Recommended Citation

Katherine Kaby Anselmi, "Women's response to reproductive trauma secondary to contraceptive iatrogenesis: A phenomenological approach to the Dalkon Shield case" (January 1, 1994). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI9427493.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9427493

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