Letter 3: From Caitlyn
Your story and your mothers’ dedication to honoring your life are inspiring. As a
recent college graduate, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between your life and
mine, and the irony of being health conscious and suffering such an unexpected
medical tragedy doesn’t escape me. It is shocking to me that a young woman
who has a healthy diet, exercises, and is personally aware could have died as a
result of an FDA-approved birth control pill.
Even scarier is that this could happen to many thousands of women because stories like yours are not given the necessary attention. As your mother said, if the systems put in place to provide patient support, such as the FDA, Maryland Medical Examiner, lawyers, pharmacists, health insurance companies, the State Medical Board, or the media are not willing to advocate for their constituents and patients, then we have to take matters into our own hands.
As a result of your experience, I have been engaged in a National Campus Outreach Program aimed at disseminating information to college-aged women about the dangers of the hormone drospirenone. I was shocked to learn that some birth control pills are twice as likely to cause potentially fatal blood clots as other birth control pills. It is my hope that by providing young women with accurate information about the dangers of this hormone, they will be better equipped to make decisions about which types of birth control pills and devices are best for them.
Unfortunately, I have found it difficult to get the attention of college-aged women. Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there is little support for people or organizations that question the safety of widely advertised medications. I will continue to inform others about the dangers of drospirenone and the importance of being informed patients in addition to advocating for my own health.
If anyone reading this wants to help reach out to college campuses or organizations, I hope they will write to you to share their ideas.
Moving forward, I will educate myself so I am able to have meaningful conversations with my doctor about healthcare options and will research policies and guidelines more thoroughly. Thanks to your story I will do everything I can to not be another “what if”.
Mount Holyoke, Class of 2015