Skip to comments.Doctors respond to parents of Down syndrome newborns with cruelty and callousness
Posted on 07/24/2014 1:20:20 PM PDT by Morgana
LifeNews recently published an article by Mark Leach about what happened when his baby was born with Down syndrome. Leach describes how he and his wife felt abandoned by the medical establishment and how the hospital gave them outdated and scant information about Down syndrome.
In response to his experience, and the experiences of many other Down syndrome parents, he has become the bioethics specialist at the National Center for Prenatal & Postnatal Down Syndrome Resources, and works to get positive, life-affirming information into the hands of new Down syndrome parents and those who go through prenatal testing for Down syndrome. Leach says:
Parents have long described receiving the [Down syndrome] diagnosis negatively. A study of moms reported awful stories both pre- and post-natally. A study just last year reported that parents have a negative experience by a ratio of 2.5 to 1so for every 100 sets of parents who had a positive experience with their health team, there were 250 who had a negative one.
In the book Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: the Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America, researcher Rayna Rapp documents three such negative experiences.
One mother, whose child with Down syndrome, Amelia, was four at the time of the interview, related the following:
So they diagnosed Amelia right away, on the delivery table. She was barely out, I barely got a chance to catch my breath or marvel at my first baby when the doctor pours this bad news all over us. Shes got Down syndrome, he says to us, very coldly. And after he tells us about blood testing and confirmations and all this stuff, we say to him, But what does this mean? What should we expect? And just as coldly he says, Dont expect much. Maybe shell grow up to be an elevator operator. Dont expect much. We clung to each other and cried. (Rapp 263)
h down syndromeThis appalling treatment no doubt added to the confusion and grief that the parents felt over finding out that their baby would face unforeseen challenges in life. If this doctor was so callous towards them after the birth of their baby, one wonders how he would treat his patients who tested positive for a Down syndrome child and were still pregnant. Would he push them towards abortion?
Another mother spoke about how angry her doctor was when she gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome:
My doctor was so angry with me. He couldnt believe I didnt take that test. How could you let this happen? He yelled at me. Youre 40! But I think something else: even though hes mentally retarded, he could be a good person Its just like finding out you have a new job. You just do it, and you accept it, thats all there is to it. (Rapp 263)
Even more heartless was the reaction of a third doctor, to another couple whose baby had Down syndrome:
She was tiny, but she was great, like she was just the cutest thing. And then my husband comes in, and he looked weird and immediately he said, The baby, something is wrong And all I could think of was that shes blind, I guess that was probably the worst thing I could ever have imagined. But the doctor had just called him and told him that Rose was a Mongoloid. We took a half hour to get it out of him, like he couldnt finish telling me the story, and then the doctor came in and said, What your husband just told you is right. He was, like, very down on the whole thing, very negative. He said, The only blessing is that they dont tend to live very long. So he thought it would be a good thing if our new baby would die. What more can I say? (Rapp 266 267)
These responses by doctors show how vitally important the work of the National Center for Prenatal & Postnatal Down Syndrome Resources is. Pro-lifers should support families with children who have Down syndrome or other disabilities, and support organizations that help them.
OB/GYN doctors get sued all the time when a baby isn’t “normal”, it may be a reaction to that.
Which begs the question why are THEY sued. They did not get the woman pregnant, it’s not the OB/GYN’s gene pool. So why blame the doc?
Okay the ultra sound or other tests did not catch it? The parents don’t have to keep the child. There are adoption agencies just for Down Syndrome children. Yes there are people who WANT kids with Down Syndrome.
The thing is that by aborting more downs babies there is less cause to find a cure or genetic therepy for children with Downs which if we could find a way to fix the issues with Downs we could solve a LOT more other genetic disorders that regular people are afflicted with.
Was this the first time they had ever met the doctor? Who were they going to for prenatal care?
Of course I have a bit of a reputation in my family for being a hard-ass when it comes to doctors. But honestly, if I don't like them, why should I ever go back? And there have been a few that have seen me walk out the door, occasionally with a one fingered salute for good measure!
OB/GYN docs try to find it and abort it. That’s the current paradigm. Smug murder.
Once in a while, I see a Down’s Syndrome parent shopping or doing something with their “child”, even though they usually look like adults, and, you know, I’ve never seen even a hint of a smile or a look of contentedness by any of these parents.
I have a son with DS. He’s a little over 2 1/2 years old.
He’s an amazing blessing to our family and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about him.
I would rather have him than a don who grows up to be a doctor who acts like one of the doctors mentioned above.
All kids bring challenges. Plus there’s no test for how much joy a child with DS will bring.
You sound like my late husband; he got aggravated with with one of his doctors for ordering a 24-hour EEG on him.
While they had him on video as part of the procedure, he rolled over and mooned them just to show them what he thought of the whole business.
I’m guessing it was an on-call doc because their normal one wasn’t able to get to the hospital on time or something. It happens, for our second doc was delayed but showed up in time to take over.
on the other hand may just be crappy docs that didn’t come across that way till the real stuff started.
They are human beings and you expect them to be smiling while shopping or because you are around they should smile?
They always look burdened and they probably have been for a long long time.
And, no, I’m not a pro lifer no matter what. And pro lifer absolutists lost most of the moral standing I used to imagine that maybe they had with me awhile ago.
I worked with several adult DS students in the UK with an adult literacy program. Such loving and happy people. Always put a smile on my face. :)
A liberal sees a DS child and sees a burden on society that could have been avoided. They don’t see that with any other type of child because.....disability.
Anyone remember the last time a DS child shot up a school?
I was alone when my doctor and the pediatrician broke the news to me that my son has Down Syndrome. Not the type of news you want to get when you are alone. I had many questions about what life would be like for my son who is now 20. Rather than trying to give me an answer since only time would tell what his development would be like, my doctor told me to take it one day at a time. It was the best advice I could have gotten. There are days when you truly have to just take it one day at a time.
Killing babies never has any moral standing.
My neighbor’s son has DS and he recently celebrated his 22nd birthday! :) Everybody on our block adores him and looks out for him...he’s a delightful young man and an absolute joy to be around. God bless you and your little guy.
Our second son was born with CHARGE Syndrome a genetic disorder. Her OBGYN found an anomaly and called in a heart specialist who confirmed that he had heart issues. They had mentioned abortion, calling it termination, I was calm but emphatic that any further talk of killing my son would not be tolerated. Everyone deserves a fair chance in life.
He was a true joy for us. We had him for 25 months and he changed our lives for the better in every way.
Everyone has problems. Some peoples problems are more easy to seen than others.
Thanks! We are a very happy family and his big brother and sister are wonderful with him.
They all get along unbelievably well.
I'm glad that my parents will probably never have the misfortune of running into you, since my brother with Down Syndrome is now a legal adult and still bringing joy and warmth to their lives. In fact I think they enjoy his company more than that of some of my typically developing siblings'.
Thanks for judging other peoples' lives based on your own self-centered ideas.
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