Skip to comments.Extreme Prematurity, Extreme Hard-Heartedness
Posted on 09/12/2009 4:42:27 AM PDT by rhema
The Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk) from the UK reports that a woman in Great Britain held her baby for two hours until he died while doctors stood by, refusing to help. Why? Because he was born two days too soon. Guidelines in Britain hold that any baby born prior to 22 weeks not be resusitated because such resustation would be futile and the baby would die anyway. Little Jayden was born at 21 weeks and 5 days.
Even if the mother pleads for help? Which she did? Sorryno can dowas the message to her.
Such is the effect of clinical care guidelines on medical practice, guidelines in Britain developed by a think-tank called the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, guidelines which extinguish human compassion from the care equation and provide cover for doctors to deny care and for the NHS to save money.
I find it difficult to picture an actual physician refusing a patients plea in such a circumstance. Theory is one thing. But standing toe-to-bed watching a mother holding her dying child and saying, No, chills my soul.
Extreme prematurity is not an easy issue. The earliest survivals on record occurred at 21 weeks 5 days and 21 weeks 6 days. Many times, the babies who survive such prematurity are left with lifelong physical and mental disabilities and always the cost of such care startles our fudiciary sensibilities. (Over a million dollars is not unheard of.) Thus, those who see no value in imperfect life or fail to see the worth of expensive life often carry the day in committees that set guidelines.
The article describes the British Association of Perinatal Medicine doing some fast back-tracking following this incident and her complaint, saying the guidelines were not meant to be a set of instructions. But guidelines soon become protocols and protocols morph into rules; rules which, if broken, require explanations and result in discipline for the rule-breaker. Rules which, if followed, save the National Health Service (NHS) millions of pounds.
Looking back on my long years of practice, Ive been in similar situations. There have been times Ive told mom and dad that resusitation would be futile and that they should cherish the short time they have with their child prior to his passing. Ive never fallen back on a guideline to justify my actions, however. Ive simply told the parents the baby would not, could not survive our best efforts. But Ive also never turned down a request to help a baby if asked. And Ive also made sure my statements were true.
One night in my residency, a young woman experienced preterm labor. She was deemed too early for intervention (but was close to the line) and went on to experience an unsuspected breech birth which I attended. Unfortunately, the babys head became stuck in the mothers cervix making delivery impossible and death certain for the struggling premature baby. I cut the mothers cervix to release the babys head, much to the parents relief. The baby died in spite of resusitation efforts. Although my superiors criticized this intervention, I can still see the faces of the parents as their baby struggled and wiggled, half in and half out. Ive no doubt I did the right thing.
The medical cutoff for extreme prematurity is a target in motion, with modern technology resulting in survival of more and more premature babies. Such a moving target contradicts hard and fast rules and should require the best judgment of those physicians at the bedside. Doctors should bring together all the information possiblethe stage of the babys development, the parents wishes, the availabiltiy of treatment, the doctors skillsthen reach a compassionate and appropriate decision with mom and dad on board.
I would say that it’s the government that is cold-hearted, not the doctors. The doctors are not in control in Britain.
Coming to a Hospital near you......THIS is what one gets with Government health care.
Coming to America, but not until the year after Obama suckers you all into re-electing him.
I would describe the meeting at which that policy was set as a “Death Panel”. Anyone disagree?
NO Cheers, unfortunately.
To me, the telling comment is the requirement for rules. It was the rules set by the NHS that killed this baby.
My response was: Doesn't make any difference. They would have tried to save the baby or sent the baby to a hospital that had better equipment and expertise and worried about collecting the money later.
I didn't want to start a big tado, but, one of me reactions I had was, so a persons life has come to this? How much money is it going to cost? And is that persons life worth it? And who makes that decisions?
Obama worked hard to keep this phenomenon legal for killing alive unborn children. They call it ‘induced labor abortion, and it is aimed at causeing premature delivery so that the child CANNOT survive without help. and the ghouls make damned sure these children get no help, often taking hours to succumb from purposed neglect. It is wickedness on par with tossing a child into the metal arms of a heated idol. Obama worked hard to keep such wickedness from being ended through legislation to stop it. He didn’t want this way of slaughtering alive children to be ‘punished’, so he blocked the legislation for as long as he could while in the IL senate.
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