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 Leach describes how he and his wife felt abandoned by the medical establishment and how the hospital gave them outdated and scant information about Down syndrome.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.
It has been screamed from the rooftops for 30 years to past-prime parents that they have a much higher risk of bearing children with severe genetic anomalies. Doctors will strongly advise in emphatic terms for testing of both parents for tell-tale genetic markers - both before and after conception - as this woman's doctor did.
The mother in this article was too lazy to test, too irresponsible and too selfish to involve her own husband in testing, and then gets offended that the medical staff is incredulous of her stupidity. I'm sure she'll be even more offended when hubby walks out the door.
I’m not trying to be mean but is your 20 yer-old brother employed or employable? And do your parents get government subsidies to support their Down’s son?
What is your point?
Do you think that some lives are more valuable than others?
Do you think foreknowledge of a potential problem exonerates a person for choosing to kill their own offspring?
At what point is a person not a person? When is it OK to cull the herd?
What's your point? Should we perform euthanasia on the Down syndrome humans because you don't see a smile on their parents faces?
I worked with a really nice guy. He had one boy and was pregnant with his second. Lo and behold the child was born with Down’s syndrome. He was beside himself. His wife would call and they would argue. I even heard him say, “it's the BIG R....we need to face up to it”. He was more than upset at the situation. But he worked it out with family and help from organizations who specialize in this condition. Him, his wife and all 3 kids (he had another boy a few years after)did everything together. He was a good father and his wife and all 3 kids loved him. At age 47, some 12 years after the birth my friend and coworker had a massive heart attack and passed to his reward. At the wake I was heartbroken watching the child, then a 12 year old, break down and cry and wail for his best friend his dad.
There was no doubt that he was going to be loved but when you have a child that isn't perfect you have to come to terms with it and accept the gift you've been given. We spent the whole day coming to terms with it.
Almost 16 hours after he was born a doctor came in and checked him out and told us what we already knew, that he had Downs Syndrome. We all nod our heads and he just thinks we are in denial not that we have discussed it all day, not that we hadn't bawled our eyes out and then felt guilty. And I mean what are you going to do? Put him back in and start all over? The Dr. did tell us that he was healthy and didn't seem to have some of the health issues that other DS children had but then started telling us all the grave things that could happen. Like we didn't have a clue.
I'm happy to say that he's now 11. He has diabetes and Celiac’s but otherwise is healthy. He's pretty smart but nonverbal but he's learning sign language. Everybody loves him not just family. He is happy and loving and well-loved.
Hey, thanks -- it's good you went so far as to put the word child in "quotes", just in case anybody was still on the fence about what a sad piece of crap you are.
I've experienced this kind of attitude from a doctor. It's ugly.
I have two regular customers who have adult children as this who are not only content but we all enjoy their visits when they come there. And least we forget there IS this
Wonderful pics! They bring a smile and tears to my eyes at the same time!
Then you’re not looking.
This is a pro-life site.
God bless you and your wife.
He does, all the time. We just wish he would have let us keep him. We miss him every day.
Guess what, perfectly healthy kids are a “burden” too.
I hear you. There seems to be a special bond between these children, their parents and families. One of my nephews is married to a woman who has a Down’s brother. He is much loved.
Trigg’s going to grow up to be a fine citizen of our country....and I suspect he’ll more than a few words to say to people who would think otherwise of special needs children... I admire the family very much and their great love for their family, as well as this country.
He’s eighteen, thanks, and not through with high school; but yes, he is employed and employable. There are a lot of menial tasks that need warm bodies and hard workers. It’s none of my business whether they get government subsidies but since they homeschooled 6 children, never taking a dime of government assistance, and then adopted multiple children from foster care, thereby saving the taxpayers a good bit of money, I think they’re a net tax-paying unit anyway.
But even if they were, it still doesn’t give anyone the right to say that my brother’s life isn’t worth living, or that he’s a burden on society. We don’t get to make those decisions.
I could not agree more, caww!
What’s your point?
His point is that he believes some people are more deserving of life than others. I think his point is both obvious and sick .
I see GOD thru that beautiful smile and face. May God keep her in his care. That is an Angel right there!
What a beautiful little girl!
Prayers for your cousin, and prayers and ((hugs)) for you.
Do you REALLY need to ask that question? You know better than that..........
Then you're ignorant, and what in the hell did you put "child" in quotations for??
My husband's aunt has Down's. Her family loved her dearly when she was being brought up, and we adore her now. Maybe the reason for those Down's parents' expressions is because they expect to come in contact with people like you.
Also, you say you're not totally pro-life. Under what circumstances do you support murder?
Too lazy and stupid to test? Most older women are perfectly aware that they do run a higher risk of having a child with Down Syndrome.
Some chose not to test, because they would not abort a child with DS. There are simple blood tests which do not pose a risk to the developing baby, but these are followed up with invasive tests, amniocentesis or CVS, that do risk miscarriage. There are false positives and false negatives. It can be a very informed decision not to test.
BTW, testing the father isn’t going to detect DS in the child. And some husbands and fathers would not abandon their wives for having a baby with DS.
You’re coming across contemptuous, ignorant, intolerant, and small-minded. Maybe you would abort any child with DS; maybe you could never find the grace to be happy with a child with DS, but you aren’t everyone.
And keep in mind that if you have a perfectly vetted, perfectly healthy baby, no one is immune to bad luck, illness, and accident, and you and yours may have to learn to cope with disability, far too late for abortion, and way too early for euthanasia.