Should extreme preemies be saved?

16 11 2006

I thought of this article a little bit disturbing. If I was the parent of a preemie, I would do everything in my power to save his/her life. Unfortunately, life is tough and sometimes cut short, but I do not agree with destroying a life even if the doctors tell me it’s the right thing to do.

LONDON – Premature babies born before 22 weeks gestation should not be given intensive care treatment to keep them alive, according to a report released in Britain on Wednesday.

What are your thoughts about this? If you, as a parent, went into early labor and the doctors said that there is a small chance of your baby surviving and that they should not let him/her survive anymore suffering, what would you do or say? I would love to hear your input!

FULL STORY HERE

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6 responses

16 11 2006
theonlineblog

I think that it is heart breaking. Our baby, Meera, had her 20th week scan yesterday. It was wonderful to see her moving around in her little amniotic house. If she is born in two weeks time we would expect the hospital staff to help her not kill her. We have lost two babies through early miscarriage in the last 12 months already. But I feel that most of the time the medical staff, in deed all the staff, at our local hospital (a UK hospital) are there because they care and there are many neonatal staff who will be as upset by this report as parents understandably will be.

16 11 2006
Angie

theonlineblog,

Thank you for commenting. Congrats on you and your wife’s pregnancy. Meera is such a beautiful name. I am terribly sorry for your losses within the past 12 months. I have had a miscarriage 4 years ago and it devastated me. I finally got pregnant last year and had a beautiful baby girl in April. Jaymie just turned 7 months old. My husband and I plan on having one more… That will make us a family of 6…WOW! We need a bigger house.

I agree that the doctors are there to help the baby survive, not help him/her suffer and pass. I remember seeing all my kids (I have 3) at 20-23 weeks and the joy of seeing them in my tummy made me smile so much. I know the joy you are feeling. If I was to go in early labor, there would be no doubt in my mind that I would want the doctors and staff to save my baby and help my baby in every way they could.

I wish you and your wife a world of joy with your little one. I have added you to my blog-roll and I will get updated with your site. Take care and I would love to hear from you in the future.

19 11 2006
Because I Did Nothing Today… « The Rooneys

[…] Most of my work kids are preemies. My last case was 27 week twins, who are now perfectly fine. If we don’t try, we’ll never succeed. […]

16 04 2008
Diane

I think before anyone can comment on this they have to research it. I have spent 179 days in NICU with my 4 living children. We made the choice to not put my son on life-support after being born at 23 weeks instead I held my son as he passed away, I feel that was the best thing we could have done for him. I made that choice because I know how much these babies suffer. I have seen them silently scream with ventilators down their airways. You see their veins blow out after 6 hours and they need so many I.V.’s because their bodies aren’t ready to working alone they can’t digest food and they need TPN. They need so many meds to help their heart and so on and so that means they are poked all the time and left covered in bruises and scars. The risk of infection is so great and their bodies have no defence so they get tons of meds to help them and those meds rot their forming teeth and do so many other unknown things. Some of the complications include BPD and brain bleeds, Cerebral palsy, blindness/deafness, kidney failure and so on and that’s not even looking far into the future and seeing the learning disabilities and increased risk of having preemies themselves(I was a preemie too so I know all to well)

My youngest living child was born at 24 weeks 5 days gestation weighing 715 grams she is 4 today. She will be blind before 15 years old, she was diagnosed with mild CP, has had eye surgery, her BPD leaves her needing meds for her lungs daily, she has speech issues, we are now learning autism is a worry with very tiny preemies and going through testing with her. She has troubles still with her digestion, and her teeth came in rotten because of the massive meds she had to take to save her life. She is a success story, the DR’s call her a miracle and tell me how she is doing so well. I have seen the babies who didn’t do well and I pity them because their whole lives are pain. I mourn my son who died I think everyday of what might have been but I loved him to much to tie him here in a world of pain and suffering just so I didn’t have to go through the pain of losing him. These babies are NOT science experiments, we can’t be thinking of how we want them here but rather what is best for them. Go look at a 22 week baby after he/she is born and see how delicate they are and then learn what they need to do to that delicate body to keep it “alive” learn about the complications that child will have to live with, if that child even lives beyond the first 2 weeks of suffering. Then and only then will you have the right to give an opinion on the topic.

8 08 2008
Cyndi Hobbs

I am the mother of a 25 weeker who was born weighing 1lb 8.6 ounces. He spent 91 days in the NICU. When he was born he came out making noise and did not need to be resusitated. He came off the oscillator 2 days after birth and went onto HFNC (high flow nasal cannula) His only trouble came when he contracted a staph epididimus infection from his PICC line which nearly took him from us several times. Today he is 6 months actual age and 2.5 months adjusted. I gave our doctors instructions to do everything possible to save his life when he was born and I am eternally grateful that they did. My son is healthy and thriving. His ROP is regressing without surgery. He didn’t come home on any monitors. He may have slight hearing loss in his right ear, but they’re confident it’s nothing that sitting at the front of the class when he goes to school, won’t fix.

Yes, a micro preemie has a lot of obstacles and has to endure a lot to survive. I can’t tell anyone else what they should or should not do when they are faced with knowing their baby is coming way too early. For me, I could not imagine not doing everything possible to save my child’s life. Now, I wouldn’t even consider getting pregnant again because of the fear of having another micro preemie. The difference is, I couldn’t control my water breaking and the baby coming early with my former micro preemie. Now, I can control not getting pregnant and risking that it happens again. I do know that not trying was not an option with my son.

8 09 2009
Jen

I’ve been following the story in the UK about baby Jayden, who died after being born just 48 hours before the legal term of viability. He was born crying and moving his arms and legs and the nurse remarked about his heartbeat being strong and that he was “a fighter.” Despite this though, the doctors refused to treat him and he survived for two hours gasping for breath before he passed away.
I agree that this is a very difficult subject and a very emotional one. I do not presume to know or even guess what parents and severely disabled children go through as a result of being premature. I honestly don’t know how I would cope. All I can tell you is my experience with a pre-term baby and my emotional response to the circumstances. 16 years ago, I gave birth out of country (in the US and I’m from Canada) to my daughter at 25 weeks. The odds of survival 16 years ago were not as good as today and we were told bluntly, everything that could go wrong: Bleeds in the brain, cerebral palsy, blindness, severe learning problems, deafness, broncho pulmonary dysplasia, chronic lung disease on and on. Despite the horror of what we could potentially be faced with, my only thought was “Please dear God, I’ll take her anyway that you see fit, just let her live.” I only knew one thing, that I could not give up hope. It was not ever put to me or my husband that we could consider other options ie: not resuscitating etc. Our daughter was given every chance and she did survive. She has had her share of illness though. She came home with her retina almost detaching but it resolved itself, she’s had 2 life threatening infections and severe chronic asthma throughout childhood. I can’t tell you if the way I feel about saving these babies would be different if things had of been worse regarding my daughter. I just know that life is precious and I wanted them to save her regardless. That being said, she is 16 years old today and is relatively healthy. She still has asthma but it’s under control. Here is something for you to ponder – I was scared like Cyndi to get pregnant again, but I did four years after my daughter was born. Well, I ended up having not only a full term baby but he weighed almost 12lbs at birth! I am not kidding or making this up. We joke in the family about me having the smallest and the largest. Here is something else. My son who was full term and ‘healthy’ ended up being diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He has had far more medical/developmental issues than his sister who was born 15 weeks early. Life has no guarantees, does it?

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