I’m a doctor working in Hong Kong. I don’t want to cause any undue alarm, but after what I’ve seen here, I think it’s important to say something. From what we can tell, contaminated IUDs, manufactured in India, have been shipped overseas. Most went to India and China, but a few thousand ended up in the US and Europe as well.
To begin with, these IUDs have a very high failure rate. They were cheaply manufactured and the copper core is easily fragmented. This means the device’s effectiveness drops from above 99% to as low as 60%, depending on the level of damage.
For those who don’t know, becoming pregnant while an IUD is still inserted is highly dangerous to both the fetus and the mother. If you believe you’ve become pregnant while implanted with an IUD, see your doctor immediately. Your life may be at stake.
There’s something else about these IUDs, too. Something I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.
A few nights ago, there were two pregnant women from the same village brought to the hospital. They were experiencing severe pain and bloating. The initial exams showed they had both been fitted with IUDs and were in their early first trimesters. What shocked us was what we saw on the sonograms.
The fetuses were dramatically larger than they should have been at the first trimester. They were also hideously deformed. It was hard to make out details, but the heads appeared to be hydrocephalic and the hands and legs were equally swollen. Further, they moved swiftly and abruptly, causing enormous pain for the poor mothers.
It took some time to get the medical records for both women, but when we did, it turned out they had the same type of IUDs. Someone on our team worked on contacting the manufacturer while the rest of us tended to the women.
One was worse off than the other. Shortly after being admitted, she began producing a foamy, yellow discharge that was quite noxious and corrosive both to her skin and the bedding. In normal circumstances, such complications would lead to an automatic D&C, but considering the size of the fetus, a Cesarean was performed.
I was not on the team who performed the Cesarean, but I saw the aftermath. I heard it.
I still hear it.
The mother died during the procedure. It turned out the discharge was the amniotic fluid mixed the corrosive residue of the IUD as it decayed. In any other situation, this would have killed the fetus as well. But this is not an ordinary fetus.
Right now, as I type this, the second woman has been sedated. I think it’s for the best. When she began hearing the hideous, keening howls which as of this moment still echo throughout the hallways of this hospital, she realized immediately she had something similar inside her. She was stopped before she could throw herself down the stairs.
The deformed infant, which grows larger by the day inside the now-otherwise-vacant NICU, confounded every expert in both our hospital, as well as the specialists who have been brought in to see it. Confounded, that was, until today.
Today we received information about the manufacturers of the IUDs. Then it all made terrible, terrible sense.
To the women who are reading this, if your IUD was manufactured between 2010 and 2016, seek help. If you’ve experienced an inordinate amount of bleeding immediately after the insertion of your IUD, seek help. If you’ve experienced any unusual discharge at any time following the insertion of your IUD, seek help. All these may be signs that you have one of the contaminated devices. The earliest ones are just beginning to break down. It’s all starting.
After Lin got off the phone with someone who knew about the manufacturer, she told me what she’d learned. All I could do was stare in disbelief.
The manufacturer of those IUDs was shut down late last year by the Indian government for environmental contamination. When their medical device business had slowed, they began accepting raw materials from unregulated, uninspected, and unlicensed sources. Sources that disposed of chemical waste. Sources that disposed of nuclear waste. Yes, you heard me right.
These IUDs contain recycled heavy metals and nuclear isotopes.
I can still hear the mutated fetus screaming with such intense power that I fear our windows will shatter. Even now, I see the belly of the other woman seething with something terrible inside. It wants to get out. And I know these aren’t the only two.
Please, if you feel you may have been affected, seek help. As I said, this is only just starting.