Friday, February 01, 2013

Starve the Child to Death Because of...What?

We’re aware that many doctors in the United States recommend abortions for babies whose potential disabilities show up on ultrasounds or in prenatal testing. We’re also aware that, sadly, all too many parents choose abortion in these cases. And all too often, their babies are discovered to either be perfectly “normal” or the parents later on discover that the disability or defect was one they definitely could have lovingly dealt with, had they only been given accurate and complete information.

Our society has become consumer and product focused in an ultimately dangerous way. When we, the consumer, discover the news that our child, the product, is not quite up to par with our expectations, we are given the choice to end an innocent life. Perfection – though impossible to define – is the standard demanded. And who among us truly meets it?

But has our culture deteriorated to such a degree that doctors are recommending babies who are born but have such relatively mild problems such as a bilateral cleft lip and palate be allowed to starve to death?

Alas, that's the depth to which we've plunged. Indeed, here's the story of one family's experience who encountered just such a "care treatment" as far back as 1997.

On October 7, 1997, our 8 pound, 14 ounce son Aidan was born at a hospital in Modesto, California. Immediately after he was fully delivered, we knew something was wrong. The doctors lowered him out of our sight instead of putting him on Jodi’s stomach and began whispering to each other. That’s when they told us he was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. It did not show up on an ultrasound. We were shocked.

What advice were you given?

The day after he was born, Aidan was taken into the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) because he was unable to breastfeed, and was becoming dehydrated and weak. The hospital did not have the type of bottles babies with a cleft use to feed. The hospital pediatrician called my husband into the nursery and advised us to sign Aidan over to the hospital. He told us that we were still young, we could still have other children, and that these kids (kids with cleft lip and palate) tend to have neurological problems, he would require many surgeries that could bankrupt us, and that if we were foolish enough to ignore medical advice and take our baby home he would end right back at the hospital as a “failure to thrive.”

The “treatment plan” the doctor told us was that they’d give our son pain medicine, and let him die (of starvation and dehydration). Jodi began to cry and refused, at which point the doctor turned to Quentin and said, “Get her out of here, she’s being irrational.”

Read more of this story by Kristi Burton Brown right here.