Any public discussion of the court-ordered Caesarean section performed on a terminally ill patient at George Washington University Hospital demands accurate reporting of the factual bases upon which that decision was made. Unfortunately, recent news coverage and commentary in The Post and elsewhere has failed to meet that mandate. We are particularly concerned with those views as expressed in the commentary "What Next in the Name of Fetal Health?" {op-ed, Nov. 25} by Nancy Polikoff.

Her predictions of government interference with a woman's right to decide how to bear her children along with her fears that organs will be taken from terminally ill patients against their will are wholly without merit and can stem only from an apparent ignorance of the specific factual testimony upon which this court decision rests. Furthermore, this case clearly is not about an unnecessary Caesarean section, and Nancy Polikoff's attempts to weave that controversy into this situation are off base.

This case, however, does concern a pregnant woman, A. C., whose undisputed medical prognosis was extremely grim, a woman who in the opinion of medical experts had a maximum of 24 to 48 hours of sedated life remaining. Testimony showed that the 26-week-old fetus A. C. was carrying was viable and that it had a better-than-not chance of living outside the mother's womb, albeit with medical support. Furthermore, it was unclear what A. C.'s wishes were. Prior to being heavily sedated, she had agreed to a treatment plan whose sole goal was to prolong A. C.'s life through the 28th week of pregnancy, so that the fetus could be delivered with a better chance of being healthy. No one specifically had discussed with her what her choice would have been had she known she could not reach that goal.

Testimony showed that A. C.'s desire for a baby was strong; she chose to become pregnant knowing it increased her chances for cancer recurrence. After the initial court decision, but prior to surgery, A. C., during a brief period of lucidity, was informed of the hearing and its result. She told her treating obstetrician that she would agree to the surgery and that she understood she might not survive the procedure. Shortly thereafter, when her mother and husband went to her bedside, she apparently indicated she didn't want the surgery.

On balance, the only ray of hope in that emotionally charged hearing room was the life inside A. C. In weighing the right to bodily integrity of a woman whose death was tragically imminent and whose desires regarding the surgery were unclear, the court decided and the Office of the Corporation Counsel, when called upon by the presiding judge to take a position on the matter, advocated that the hospital take whatever steps necessary, including a Caesarean section, to deliver and to protect the health of the fetus. That decision on these specific facts should neither sound an alarm to pregnant women or the terminally ill nor signal any shift in the District's demonstrated policy of promoting public health and proper prenatal care.

Nancy Polikoff's baseless hysteria and the imagined scenario of horribles that she alleges will result from this case do much more to undermine the District's laudatory goals than does the well-reasoned position taken by the Office of the Corporation Counsel and the court in this most difficult and compelling situation. RICHARD S. LOVE Assistant Corporation Counsel BEVERLY J. BURKE Corporation Counsel Government of the District of Columbia Office of the Corporation Counsel Washington