You Don’t Need To Know If Your Baby is Sick

Imagine: you are in the delivery room, about to become a parent for the first time. You and your partner have done everything right. You’ve got your funds in order, you’ve been abstaining from ciggys, booze and really fun carnival rides, and you comforted each other in the face of this monumental chapter in your lives. And of course, you’ve checked off all the prenatal care with the aid of your trusted obstetrician.

Look at you now! After months of anticipation, you’re moments away from becoming a mother (or father)! The sound in the room swells and swells and climaxes with a scream! And now, the baby cries! You both strain to see your new baby. But you catch the looks on the delivery team’s faces. Something’s wrong.

Your child has harlequin-type ichthyosis. (No link, google it when you’re at home alone and you haven’t just eaten)

Shouldn’t this have been seen on the ultrasound, or through amniocentesis? But you had both procedures done, with the aid of your trusted obstetrician, and s/he never reported anything. Did s/he just read it wrong?

What if you found out that your trusted obstetrician knew about it the whole time?

Would you be angry? Would you like to sue your trusted obstetrician’s trusted knickers off? Any sane person would.

Unfortunately, Oklahoma is not known for its sanity.

The Oklahoma Legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s vetoes of two abortion measures, one of which requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion[…]
A second measure passed into law on Tuesday prevents women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb.

Just a reminder that pro-lifers looooooooove life and are morally superior to everyone. Thanks, guys! Who needs trust in a doctor? Who needs to know if I’m going to have a sick baby?


11 Responses to “You Don’t Need To Know If Your Baby is Sick”

  1. 1 ansonburlingame
    April 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm


    I really like this blog. It makes one think and think hard.

    You may have shortchanged yourself in only describing a situation where the baby alone is “sick”. What if the mother is “sick” in some way and the doctor witholds that information to “save the baby”. In my view both are reprehensible?

    A doctor’s primary responsibility is to preserve and prolong life in every possilbe way. But for sure the quality of the life must be carefully explained to the patient in the doctor’s attempts to do so. Yes, grandma can live after proposed surgery but she will be limited to….. afterwards. Yes we can save the baby but after birth the child will live…….

    The doctor does his job and does it well by doing all he/she can do in their primary responsiblity and regardless of the doctor’s religious or moral views. BUT the patient gets a vote as well.

    Few would be held morally reprehensible if they choose to NOT have the surgery. If grandma can act on her own it becomes her choice. If she cannot act on her own then Grandpa or the kids must so decide for her.

    A baby cannot “act on its own” for sure. It may have a primal instinct to live but certainly no means of communicating such or making a quality of life decision. Mom (and hopefully Dad) must make that decision on behalf of the baby.

    For doctors to intervene by witholding information in that process is in my view reprehensible. It should be illegal for them to do so and they should be held crimminally liable in such cases. It is pure and simple negligence and/or stupidity on their part and in my view with no moral justification.

    As for civil action, I tend to disagree. This is a matter of life and death, not how much money Mom and Dad can receive after the fact. But that is a different point entirely from the more fundamental one above.

    Good blog.


    • May 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      I’m not seeing why civil action is bad. Special needs kids require more money and care, and the parents who didn’t know their child’s diagnosis wouldn’t have that stuff in order. Why shouldn’t the doctor have to pony that up?

      • 3 calvin and Luther Will Kick Your Atheist Behind
        May 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm

        Are you saying that it wouldn’t be worth the financial burden to care for your disabled child? That they just wouldn’t be worth that sacrifice to the parents? That the worth of the child isn’t as much as the worth of the financial loss tot he parents?

      • May 3, 2010 at 11:25 pm

        I’m saying that since the doctor withheld the information, the doctor should have to pay. If the parents knew the child was special needs, they could have started planning ahead what with extra funds and treatments and such. But their doctor denies them the info, and thus denied them that opportunity.

    • 5 calvin and Luther Will Kick Your Atheist Behind
      May 4, 2010 at 12:01 am

      I’m glad that is what you are saying.

  2. 6 calvin and Luther Will Kick Your Atheist Behind
    April 30, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    I would agree that parents should be informed if the baby the mother is carrying is disabled. But, I also can’t imagine how horrible it would be for a doctor to know that telling the parents their baby is disabled could lead to the sanitized version of murder called abortion.

  3. 8 ansonburlingame
    May 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    What is the difference between “sanitized murder” by preventing birth and Granma and the family electing not to have surgery and go into hospice care?


    • May 1, 2010 at 8:14 pm

      Playing Devil’s advocate here, obviously not my POV…

      If you believe that abortion is murder, like Calwyckyab does, the difference is that the fetus cannot elect.

      From Calwyckyab’s (you seriously need a new name, BTW) point of view, that would be like Granma being completely senile and unable to think for herself, and the rest of the family refusing the surgery. This is assuming that Granma never made her wishes known beforehand.

      I am assuming here, since Cal is a Calvinist and has no morality other then what she perceives are God’s instructions.

  4. 10 ansonburlingame
    May 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    To All

    Pre-born babies, very young children, “brain dead” or several disabled individuals and old folks with severe senility are obviously incapable of making life, death and continuation of life with severe restrictions by themselves. Thus for the latter two categories living wills are the primary means of communicating ones desires. Given clear communications is such legal documents, families are “honor bound” to respect their wishes, one way or the other.

    Given no living will, families must ponder the nearly imponderable, “what would granma or my -sistter really want.” Given a very young or pre-borne child, the child’s best interests should prevail

    Thus at this point religion enters the picture. Some believe with great conviction that the will to live dominates over all else regardless of the conditions of such life. They await God to “call them home”, again in all circumstances. I have no objection with such belief, OTHER than expecting society to bear the full cost of such decisions.

    On the other hand my legal directions are clear. I do not want God to do his bidding when He sees fits. I desire pain free comfort and let nature (not God) take its course for me. As soon as I am artificially being kept alive by any means including feeding tubes, pull the plug is my choice. If exceptional circumstances demand my continued “living” by artificial means such as some huge financial consideration for my wife or other heirs, then I leave the decision to them lovingly and willingly.

    My real point in all of this that continuation of life is a very personal decision and I would criticize no one for making their own choices one way or the other. The blog suggests a doctor imposing his own will into the situation by witholding information.

    Reprehensible to say the least. AND equally reprehensible for government to do so as well.


  5. May 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    To All

    I agree with Anson above, but would expound on his exception about cost to society. Expecting society to bear the full cost of such decisions is critical. The continued “advancement” of medical science contains the promise of extending life, regardless of quality, to the limit of available money. This conundrum applies increasingly to our technical society. The cost of medical technology will continue to meet the demand and if the demand is unlimited, so will be the cost. Bringing a severely-disabled child into the world is an unreasonable disservice to parents and, under our socialized medical system, to society.

    Many will disagree with me but I see absolutely no evidence that God intervenes. Without the concept of free will, man would be nothing but a puppet moving at the whim of a Master Puppeteer. To abandon such important decisions to God is irresponsible.

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