In October of 2008, Sarah Capewell, in the UK, was admitted to a hospital at only 21 weeks pregnant. She gave birth to a live baby but the doctors left him to die. She begged them to save her son, Jayden, but the doctors allegedly told her they were following national guidelines that babies born before 22 weeks should not be given medical treatment. Jayden was just two days from being 22 weeks.
Capewell, 23, said the doctors refused to even examine Jayden who went on to live for two hours before dying in her arms. 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.
Now she is fighting fo new guidelines. The guidance, drawn up by the Nuffield Council, is not compulsory but advises doctors that medical intervention for very premature children is not in the best interests of the baby, and is not ‘standard practice’.
A trust spokesman said: ‘Like other acute hospitals, we follow national guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine regarding premature birth.
According to Capewell, she kept asking for the doctors but the midwife said, “They won’t come and help, sweetie. Make the best of the time you have with him”‘ So she took pictures and held him until he passed away a few hours later.
She was told that because she had not reached 22 weeks, she was not allowed injections to try to stop the labor, or a steroid injection to help to strengthen her baby’s lungs. Instead, she was told to treat the labor as a miscarriage, not a birth, and to expect her baby to be born with serious deformities or even to be still-born.
After finally talking to a pediatrician, she begged, ‘You have got to help’, only for him to respond: ‘No we don’t.’
Right before delivery, a minister came in and started going over funeral arrangements. She said: ‘I was sitting there, reading this leaflet about planning a funeral and thinking, this is my baby, he isn’t even born yet, let alone dead.’
After his death she even had to argue with hospital officials for her right to receive birth and death certificates, which meant she could give her son a proper funeral.
Justice for Jayden: His mother is campaigning to change the law that took her son away from her before he was even 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 third birthday last October. She is the youngest premature baby to survive.
Thousands of women have experienced this. The doctors say the babies won’t survive but how do they know if they are not giving them a chance?’
Medical experts say babies born before 23 weeks are simply too under-developed to survive, and that to use aggressive treatment methods would only prolong their suffering, or inflict pain.
After the survival of Amillia Taylor, there has been much debate on abortion limits. Some argued that if a baby could survive at 22 weeks then the time limit on abortions should be reduced.
The argument, which was lost in Parliament, followed a cut to the time limit in 1990 when politicians reduced it from 28 weeks to 24 weeks, in line with scientific evidence that a fetus could survive outside the womb at a younger age.
However, experts say cases like Amillia’s are rare, and can raise false expectations about survival rates.
Studies show that only 1 percent of babies born before 23 weeks survive, and many suffer serious disabilities.
I was just outraged when I heard this. A baby is not a fetus. It is a tiny person, no matter how young. This makes me wonder what will happen here with the new healthcare bill. What do you think?
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