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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Efforts to save infants in legal test

MADISON — "The state Supreme Court is considering whether doctors must try to save infants even when they conclude the children have no chance of living."

"An attorney for the mother of a baby who died at a Madison hospital in 1999 told the justices on Thursday that doctors should have tried to resuscitate the infant. Meriter Hospital’s attorney responded that doctors determined they could not have saved the baby even with efforts to give him fluids and oxygen."

Drs. Determined, without trying? How do they determine whether or not rescusitation would work, unless of course the baby was deceased for a long period of time.

"The question facing the court is whether a 1986 federal law forces
hospitals to try to save the lives of newborn babies even when doctors believe
treatment would be useless.

Federal regulators issued rules in 2003 allowing hospitals to deny
emergency treatment to people they’ve already admitted, “but it’s an open
question as to whether it would apply to a newborn,” he said.

Preston gave birth to Bridon, a 1½-pound boy, on Nov. 10, 1999, one day
after she was admitted to the hospital complaining of fluid leakage at just over
23 weeks pregnant.
Doctors warned Preston her son’s lungs were not developed enough for his
survival and declined to treat the boy once he was born, despite pleas from
Preston and the boy’s father. The baby died at the hospital less than three
hours later."

Whoa. 23 weeks? Many a baby have survived at that age. I was informed when my Granddaughter was delivered at 19 1/2 weeks gestation that if she were just a little bit older 22 weeks and up she would have had a chance, a slim one, but a chance none-the-less. We are heading down a slippery Slope here.

"Preston’s attorney, Thomas Marzen, said the baby had at least a 66 percent
chance of surviving based on his weight..."

"Hospital lawyers say doctors concluded before the infant was born he would
not survive. They argue the federal law — the Emergency Medical Treatment and
Labor Act — requires hospitals to treat patients only in emergency rooms, not
hospital delivery wards." Read...