This is going to be a very controversial post. I won’t divulge too much information about where I heard this but this has been on my mind for a few weeks. While having a conversation with NICU personnel (not at my hospital), the discussion came up about how some parents prolong their sick child’s life. Okay, now before you read on, if you are sensitive or in a place where you can’t read about loss, PLEASE STOP HERE!
I was appalled by some of these nurses’ statements. “Why don’t the parents just listen to us and let their child go?” “Why must they hold on to hope by prolonging death?” “Why should we try to keep a baby alive when we know they will suffer with horrible defects/problems/be in a wheelchair, etc?” “What gives them the right to tell us that we need to keep trying to save their child…we know what’s best!”
There were other statements too but I nearly vomited and almost left the room. First…IT’S NOT YOUR CHOICE! Second…FIND A NEW JOB!
I was horrified when they kept going on and on about the quality of life for the child and the fact that if they were in a wheelchair that it was somehow a horrible life. I was like “Who are you to judge? Who are you to make these decisions? And how do you know the child will be wheelchair-bound of suffer from some other issue?” It was sickening to hear them all complain about saving a baby under 24 weeks because of “how bad off the child will be.”
So I proposed to the group, “What is wrong with having a child in a wheelchair?” One responded, “It’s about quality of life and a parent shouldn’t be able to choose that.” It took everything in me to stay in the room. It also took everything in me from not jumping across the table to strangle this person.
So basically…a parent can’t make this decision for their child and a parent has no right to allow their child to live if they might suffer from a defect/issue or be wheelchair-bound. OMG! If it isn’t up to the parents, it certainly isn’t up to you…NURSE!
They kept referring to micro-preemies and how horrible their lives are. I discussed that a 21 weeker was saved and lives a normal life and was shunned. “NO WAY! I don’t believe that!” “A 21 week fetus can’t survive outside the womb.”
I told them it was on the internet. Just google it and you will find the story. The mom lied about her gestational age in order for the doctors to save the baby. (Something we should NEVER have to do. If a baby is born and trying to breathe, we should make some life saving attempts).
Here are a few stories:
Frieda Mangold – 21 weeks 5 days
Amillia Sonia Taylor – 21 weeks 6 days
And here is an update on Amillia for those who are wondering if she had developmental problems.
And here is the story of Jonathan Whitehill who was born at 25 weeks but was only 10.9oz’s. I am sure one of these nurses would have deemed him to be a child that would be severely impaired or in a wheelchair. Unless they consider glasses a disability, they are surely wrong.
Even more disturbing…we abort babies this gestational age! What is wrong with society?
No. I am not naïve…I know and realize that some babies this small do not survive and if they do, MAY have developmental problems but my point is this…who are you to take that miracle away? Who are you to make the decision on if the baby lives or dies?
I feel so sick to think that nurses and doctors don’t put their all into some of these babies. We are all human, I get that, but what if? The BABY should make that decision. If the baby is trying to breathe, we must try to save the baby. If the baby gives up, then we need to work with families through their loss but ultimately, PARENTS make the decision for their child. For them, making the life and death decision is devastating!
Some parents need time to say goodbye and that might mean prolonging death by keeping a baby on life support but honestly, is it really that easy to just “pull the plug” and move on? It’s not. It’s not as simple as saying or hearing, “Your child isn’t going to survive, we need to remove life support.”
I still can’t believe I heard these statements from NICU nurses who may have been responsible for caring for my baby and my sister-in-law’s babies. I really wanted to tell them to find another job because they were no longer needed. BUT, and this is a big but, I knew they had experience and probably DID serve other preemies well. But still, I can’t get over their non-chalant, “we should be able to make the decision, mantra.”
For those of you still reading, what are YOUR thoughts?
– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage
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