Sunday, September 27, 2009

Premature baby 'left to die' by doctors after mother gives birth just two days before 22-week care limit | Mail Online

Premature baby 'left to die' by doctors after mother gives birth just two days before 22-week care limit | Mail Online
Doctors left a premature baby to die because he was born two days too early, his devastated mother claimed yesterday.

Sarah Capewell begged them to save her tiny son, who was born just 21 weeks and five days into her pregnancy - almost four months early.

They ignored her pleas and allegedly told her they were following national guidelines that babies born before 22 weeks should not be given medical treatment.

Miss Capewell, 23, said doctors refused to even see her son Jayden, who lived for almost two hours without any medical support.

She said he was breathing unaided, had a strong heartbeat and was even moving his arms and legs, but medics refused to admit him to a special care baby unit.
....
She said she was told that because she had not reached 22 weeks, she was not allowed injections to try to stop the labour, or a steroid injection to help to strengthen her baby's lungs.

Instead, doctors told her to treat the labour as a miscarriage, not a birth, and to expect her baby to be born with serious deformities or even to be still-born.

She told how she begged one paediatrician, 'You have got to help', only for the man to respond: 'No we don't.'

One of the things that puzzles me here is this seems to fit the definition of live birth created by the World Health Organization:

A live birth occurs when a fetus, whatever its gestational age, exits the maternal body and subsequently shows any sign of life, such as voluntary movement, heartbeat, or pulsation of the umbilical cord, for however brief a time and regardless of whether the umbilical cord or placenta are intact.

I guess the NHS must use a different definition of "live birth". Or else the NHS is willing to withhold medical care from the newly born.

She was shocked to discover that another child, born in the U.S. at 21 weeks and six days into her mother's pregnancy, had survived.

Amillia Taylor was born in Florida in 2006 and celebrated her second birthday last October. She is the youngest premature baby to survive.

Miss Capewell said: 'I could not believe that one little girl, Amillia Taylor, is perfectly healthy after being born in Florida in 2006 at 21 weeks and six days.
....
However, experts say cases like Amillia Taylor's are rare, and can raise false expectations about survival rates.

Studies show that only 1 per cent of babies born before 23 weeks survive, and many suffer serious disabilities.

It's tempting to ask, "How high must the percentage be to be worth a chance?"

But that's not a question that will be asked under a single-payer plan. In order to save costs, someone has to decide when treatment is "effective", which always means cost-effective.

If the chance of survival is 1%, then every dollar spent saving that one in a hundred represents $99 spent trying to save the ones that don't make it. $10,000 in neonatal intensive care that saves the one represents $1 million spent trying to save all 100.

You may be willing to go for the long shot, but the Single Payer has to pay for all the shots, whether they come in or not.

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