Did you know that siblings who have lost a brother or sister to abortion can present with Post Abortion Survivor Syndrome? This month, as we highlight twin survivor, Claire Culwell, and talk about the grief that comes for surviving twins, we think it’s also important to talk about how siblings in general grieve the loss of a sibling, are affected by their loss and even experience guilt.
The original research is about 25 pages long, so we wanted to post a brief conclusion summary here. For the full research and summary by Philip G. Ney, MD, FRCP(C), MA, Claudia K Sheils, RN, and Marek Gajowy, MA, please visit the linked PDF.
“If the data and clinical impressions contained in this article and the deductions are correct, there appears to be a definable and diagnosable constellation of symptoms and problems comprising a syndrome, (Post Abortion Survivor Syndrome, PASS) that occurs in people whose parents have chosen to terminate other pregnancies.
This constellation appears distinct from any combination of symptoms that might arise when a person survives the loss of a sibling by miscarriage. Since many of the major symptoms arise from existential dilemmas, anyone attempting to diagnose this syndrome would need to ask appropriate questions.
Unless the conflicts behind these dilemmas are addressed it is unlikely that the expression of these conflicts, eg. difficult to treat depressions or the repeated need for psychiatric admission, will subside. This study needs to be replicated with a larger sample.
In the meantime, it behoves the practising clinician to ask appropriate questions in an effort to determine whether a patient who presents with “depression” might be suffering from causes that are not biochemical or situational but rather from conflicts about life and living when a sibling was terminated.”