Instinct to protect

This sounds like science fiction. Only I can’t imagine making it up. 

It was jarring the day I read it. But even more so after considering the case of Baby OT (see post below).

A couple is suing a hospital for keeping their baby alive.

A Quebec couple is launching a lawsuit against Montreal
Children’s Hospital after their severely-ill newborn daughter was put
back on life support without their consent.

Little Phebe was born in November 2007 with severe illness due to “complications at birth”.

[Her mother, Marie-Eve] Laurendeau and Phebe’s father,
Stephane Mantha, say doctors told them at that time that their daughter
had little chance she’d survive.

If she did survive, doctors said she would probably be deaf, blind and may need to be institutionalized.

She did survive, though she needed support.

The couple was given the option to withdraw Phebe’s life support and to withdraw artificial feeding.

They said they agreed to withdraw respiratory support and later, at
the suggestion of doctors, to withdraw the artificial feeding.


“They say they thought that if there was never going to
be quality of life for their baby girl then why let her suffer,” CTV
Montreal’s Daniele Hamamdjian reported Friday after the parents held a
press conference.

There’s the dangerous and very subjective ‘quality of life’
calculation that sees suffering as an evil to be avoided at all
cost. Besides that, how was this baby girl suffering, to what degree,
and how did they really know?

This story turns on its head the premise of most other similar
situations, in which hospital ethics committees force families to lost
loved ones because they’ve determined costly resources won’t add
significant ‘quality of life’ to the patient. 

It’s the parents who wanted to pull the treatment.

However, the hospital’s ethics committee met and
reversed the parent’s decision without their consent or permission from
a court.

For once, a story these days about doctors fulfilling their first duty under the Hippocratic Oath, at all cost. 

After two-and-a-half months, Phebe was still alive and
the hospital told the parents to take their child home or they’d place
her in protective custody, Hamamdjian said.

Phebe did well enough to not even need hospitalization anymore.

Phebe is neither deaf nor blind. But she cannot hold up
her head, sit up, or babble as another baby her age would, and she is
fed through a hole in her stomach.

She does smile at her parents, though, a recent breakthrough they are thrilled with, CTV’s Genevieve Beauchemin reported.


“They say they have no support and are living on one income,” Hamamdjian said.

So they’re suing the hospital for keeping their baby girl alive.

As my friend nurse Nancy Valko said after reading this…

With more and more parents insisting on a healthy child
and the “right to die” enthusiasts insisting that death is better than
disability, these kinds of cases are happening privately every day.
Health care providers are under increasing pressure to basically get
rid of patients with actual or even potential disabilities.

If this doesn’t alarm us, I’m concerned the inoculation we’re getting from “the right to die enthusiasts” is taking effect. 


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