Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Medical Termination

I learned about this case today, where a mother is suing her obstetrician and two ultrasound clinics for not detecting on the ultrasound that her son only had one arm and no legs.  Sounds legit, right?  It certainly is strange that seven ultrasounds wouldn't detect such obvious abnormalities.  Read on, my friends.

What is so disturbing is this:  "Had she known, she said, she would have terminated the pregnancy rather than subject Bryan to what she believes will be a life of physical and psychological pain and untold  hardship" ( 

This lawsuit has caused a pretty major uproar across the country, and I first read about it while reading this blog post.   Many people have many opinions on the topic, and the comments section turned into a firey debate over the morality of medical termination.

My feelings on the topic?  Well, first, let me avoid the medical termination thing for a few minutes and focus on other aspects.  We'll get to the big one in a minute.

1.  How will she explain this to her son in 10 years when he reads these articles on the internet and discovers that his mom really didn't want him?  Talk about esteem issues!

2.  She talks about the child being unhappy that he can't run and play with the other kids, and that this has caused him physiological pain.  What has she done to help her son live a happy, fulfilling life?  Sure, there are lots of things he can't do...but focus on what he can do!  Choose joy!!

3.  Why in the world is she waiting until he is 3 years old to start this lawsuit?  If it was that big of a deal to her, I would imagine she would have started much earlier.

4.  I have to believe that insurance pays for quite a bit of his medical care.  Do you really need $9 million for his medical bills??  What's more, why in the world do you need money for your own pain and suffering...especially an "undisclosed amount??"

Okay, on to the medical termination topic.  I firmly believe that those who have not faced this situation cannot truly have an opinion on it.  Until you have the decision to make, no one really knows how he or she will respond.  For us, we knew going into perinatologist's office that many people terminate if their child is diagnosed with Pierre Robin's Sequence.  (This was Abby's original diagnosis and is still one of her secondaries.)  I have never really understood why, as the vast majority of PRS kids deal with nothing more than a cleft palate and maybe a few teeth issues.  Those with trachs are in the minority, so the medical problems are usually quite minimal.  When the doctor confirmed that it was PRS, we let him know up front that we were not interested in discussing medical termination.  He agreed and never mentioned it.  However, I know that if Abby had been diagnosed with CCMS in utero, he would have felt some sort of obligation to really lay the options out.

After Abby was born and her true diagnosis was given, we had that oh-so-awful question that no parent should ever have to consider:  what do you want to do when she codes?  (note:  it was not if she codes.)  Our shocked, immediate answer was for them to do whatever they could, to which the doctor responded with a pitiful, "Really?!" 

You see, to them, Abby didn't have a chance.  Why should we subject her to a life of misery when she would be not much more than a vegetable?  What's the point?

My Vegetable

SHE is the point.  Abby is a living, breathing, beautiful miracle.   

If you happened across this blog post by searching the words "medical termination," I am here to tell you that miracles can happen. With statistics that say that Abby shouldn't have gotten out of the NICU, much less lived to be a year old, we are now preparing for her first birthday. She is the sweetest girl with SO much personality, and she lives up to her middle name of joy. God has performed many miracles in her life and she is just about on target for development. If we had chosen medical termination (which is such a nice euphemism, isn't it?), we would not have this beautiful joy in our lives.

I'm not saying that choosing to carry your baby to term and make major sacrifices will be easy. It's not. But I don't think that there are too many people who chose to give birth to their babies and regret it. I have several friends whose children lived only a few minutes, but they are constantly saying that they would not have traded those few minutes for the world. Yes, that kind of decision (especially if your baby does not survive) involves a lot of heartache...but so does the decision to terminate. Wouldn't you rather give your child every possible chance at life?

I'm here to plead with you to consider the little life you are carrying when you are faced with medical termination. Give God a chance to perform a miracle--whether it be in your baby, or in your life. For us, it was in both. :)

If you are reading this and would like to talk to me further about medical termination, feel free to email me.  I am not at all interested in starting a debate in the comments section.  Any nasty comments will be deleted.  If you have something to say, email me and I would love to talk to you.  :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said, as always, Julie. I hope you'll send Abby's early doctors a first birthday celebration announcement! :)
Jamie Trickle