Nightmare: Women and the Dalkon Shield
Publisher: Macmillan (1985)
Format: PDF / Kindle / ePub
Size: 9.9 MB
Downloadable formats: PDF
"Nightmare" is the chilling story of the betrayal of 2.2 million American women of child-bearing age. For four years, from 1971 to 1974, these women were fitted with the Dalkon Shield IUD (intrauterine device). Promoted by its manufacturer as "the safest and most satisfying form of contraception," the Dalkon Shield was, in fact, dangerous and defective. Since 1974, thousands of women have filed damage suits for complications ranging from debilitating pain and severe bleeding to perforated uteri, unplanned pregnancies, spontaneous miscarriages, and septic abortions. Some women delivered babies prematurely; others had babies with birth defects. Some were unable to have children at all. At least 20 women died. The women who used the Dalkon Shield had every reason to believe it was both safe and effective: the manufacturer, the A. H. Robins Company, had said so in promotional material aimed directly at potential users. The women also knew that the device could be obtained only from a doctor, like a prescription drug, which the government regulated. What most women didn't know was that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) did not regulate contraceptive devices in 1971 - and would not until 1976. Nor did they know that the claims A. H. Robins made for the efficacy of the Dalkon Shield were based on a single published medical study. "Nightmare" presents a veritable case study of corporate irresponsibility and government ineptitude. It also tells a highly dramatic and very human story. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents, "Nightmare" goes behind the headlines to the homes and hospitals, the courtrooms and boardrooms where the Dalkon Shield tragedy played out.