Attitude towards premature baby deeply troubling

Dear Editor,

I am troubled .When I recall the news of the death of a premature baby at the West Demerara Hospital, the circumstances surrounding the death, and the response, I am troubled. A premature baby is born, 25 weeks old .The child is born alive, but because the baby is not yet 28 weeks old she is dismissed as a “non-viable foetus”. It is reported that the mother was asked “Yuh want we dump it in the bin one time?” Dump a living , breathing child in the bin!? Is this what we have come to as a nation? Don’t lives matter anymore? I have read of cases of babies born prematurely that lived, that were so small that they could fit in the palm of one’s hand!  The PRO in trying to explain away the callous behaviour of those involved said “…it is the desire of every physician to save even the most premature of lives…” (KN Thursday, April 13,2017), but there is no evidence of this here! The physician (if the report is accurate) was prepared to dump a living child in the garbage bin!! This child fought for life for hours… and was still alive when the mother visited the next day. I could understand if the child had died despite efforts to keep her alive, but this was not the case.

I call to mind many, many years ago, when a sister of mine gave birth to a premature baby of similar age. She was put in an incubator and was doing well…until an unadvised member of staff took the baby out of the incubator to show her to a relative. Later that evening when someone checked the baby, she had turned blue…She died.

Could it be that our medical practitioners need to be advised that every child, even when chances of survival seem slim, MUST be given a fighting chance to live! And shouldn’t  every hospital be equipped with incubators?

I hear the lofty explanation by the PRO “That when foetuses are considered non-viable, resuscitation attempts would not be offered”. I repeat…That child lived for hours…till the next day. That baby was  not waiting to be ‘resuscitated’, but was  begging for a kind hand and heart to help her to continue living…

According to the PRO, in the USA, “ viability… occurs at 24 weeks with the chances of survival charted at 40 to 70 per cent. In Japan, viability stands at 22 weeks, with slightly higher chances of survival…” (Kaieteur News, Thursday April 13, 2017). Is it true that the West Demerara Hospital has no incubator and we are prepared to dump a living child in the garbage bin? May God have mercy on us! Could it be that the lack of the fear of God and the minimizing of the sanctity of life has unleashed  wanton bloodshed on our dear land?

The rest of the mother’s story, as reported, seems to be taken from the script of a horror movie. “… a man…turn up the oxygen that the baby was on…We start seeing the smoke how it coming through the oxygen through she nose, but by the time we get the doctor that was the last  of the baby.”(Stabroek News, Wed. April 5,2017). Could someone explain this? With whose authority did ‘this man’ turn up the oxygen? In the book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible, a King is groomed for National leadership  with this advice from a truly wise mother: “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die.

Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy (Proverbs 31: 8-9). This advice is not only for ‘kings’ but for every God-fearing citizen.

Earlier in Proverbs ( Chap. 24:10-12) King Solomon, renowned for his wisdom, counselled :

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say,” Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the heart consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?”

Yours faithfully,

Claudia Heywood

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