Saturday, March 26, 2011

#parents #prolife #prochoice #hcr #tcot Why wouldn't a pregnant mother take her Dr's advice&try bed rest??

While on twitter today I came across this controversial article the prochoice movement is in uproar about regarding a pregnant FL mother. She was 25 weeks pregnant and caring a high risk pregnancy,her doctor recommended bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy to try and prevent a miscarriage. Sadly, the mother didn't want to follow the doctor's recommendation and wanted to get a second opinion. However, the doctor and the courts found it was in her and the fetus best interest to place her on bed rest and admitted her to a hospital against her will.

While this isn't an abortion issue, it brings up the pro choice and pro life issue because while the pro choice movement fights for 'bodily autonomy' of the woman, the pro life movement fights to defend the rights of the unborn human being, the fetus.

This is a hard case to be on either side, but as a mother I don't understand why she was so unwilling to do anything possible to try and protect the life of her unborn child. She didn't have intentions to abort, so the child must have been 'wanted'. Why didn't the mother seek a support system either through family, friends or the community to help provide care for her other children while she was to remain on bed rest?? It isn't clear if she was married, but it sounds like she was a single mom of two.

According to the case, the mother also was a smoker and did not want to stop smoking, which by law, she is legally entitled to do. However, there have been cases of women who abuse alcohol or drugs while pregnant, and if their child dies or is born with fetal alcohol syndrome or some other drug addiction or abnormality caused by this abusive/negligent behavior, where the mother has been charged with child abuse or negligence and in some cases murder.

In addition, there have been cases where parents are charged with abuse or negligence when they do not provide proper medical care to their living child because of religious reasons or other beliefs that they don't believe in medical intervention.I completely understand and agree with these cases and find that the state and courts are obligated to find   against the parents when the child's welfare is concerned and at risk.There is no other way to prevent child abuse,negligence and the death of children unless the state,courts and DCYF [Department of Children, Youth and Families]intervene.

Unfortunately in the case of this mother,Samantha Burton, did not get to seek a second opinion, but it makes me wonder if she would have and if she was told by another doctor it was in her best interest and the unborn baby's best interest to go on bed rest if she would have done so. So on one side I disagree with the doctor blocking her ability to get a second opinion, but on the other side I think the doctor felt she was doing what was in the mother and baby's best interest to try and save the baby and continue the pregnancy. There is no guarantee a pregnancy will go to full-term, since miscarriage can occur spontaneously, but you would think any woman who wants a child and wants the best for her unborn child would do whatever she could in the best interest of the child.

Her refusal to trust her doctor's advice tells me she didn't trust her doctor for some reason and also that she possibly didn't want the child after finding there may be complications,so perhaps she sought an easy way out of doing what is best to carry the pregnancy full-term by her refusal for medical intervention. So if this was the case, the doctor and the courts ruling was in the best interest of the unborn child and the mother, even though the mother wanted to refuse treatment. Sadly, the baby did die in utero and the doctor's had to perform a c-section three days after she was put on bed rest only to find the baby was dead. What actually caused the miscarriage is not clear, but the stress of being ordered on bed rest could have contributed or it may have happened regardless. Since there is no way to blame the doctor or the state for the pregnancy ending in miscarriage, I wouldn't say she has legal grounds to sue for the child's death.  I feel they did what they felt was in the best interest of the mother and her unborn child.

However, because the mother refused bed rest and felt 'forced' by her doctor and the court order to be hospitalized, she appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, where they also found in favor of the unborn child and upheld the lower courts ruling. While this is great news for the unborn child to see that the court ruled in favor of attempting to save the life of the fetus, it does make one wonder where the limits of the court&  state are when it comes to a patient making medical decisions, such as seeking a second opinion.

I am fully for patients rights and having the ability to make all my own medical decisions, but I am also pro life and would have had no problem taking the advice of my doctor, someone I trust for medical advice.So again, it makes me wonder why the mother didn't trust her doctor's advice and why she didn't seek family,friends or community support to care for her other children while on bed rest?

The case didn't mention where her two other children stayed while she was admitted to the hospital on bed rest, but I suspect friends or family or the state stepped in and placed them in temporary custody. So if this assistance was available anyway, why didn't the mother just take her doctor's advice and avoid the whole situation of being 'forced' into bed rest in the best interest of her unborn child?? Did she sue after the fact to gain financially or did she sue because she truly felt her rights were violated??

With issues like the Stupak Amendment and Nevada's Personhood Initiative in the national spotlight, I am aware that a woman's right to choose whether or not to carry a fetus to full-term is under attack.

What I didn't realize, perhaps naively, is that her right to choose how to carry a fetus is also under fire. Last March, Florida resident Samantha Burton was in week 25 of her pregnancy when she paid a visit to her doctor. Burton was showing signs of potential miscarriage, so her physician ordered bed rest. Burton explained that, as a working mother of two toddlers, bed rest simply wasn't a viable option and then proceeded to ask for a second medical opinion. Seems reasonable, right?

Yesterday in Tallahassee, the 1st District Court of Appeal heard arguments in a case involving a pregnant woman — Samantha Burton — confined to a hospital bed, against her will, after disagreeing with her doctor's recommendations for treating pregnancy complications. I joined Ms. Burton's lawyer as a "friend of the court" in arguing that the State of Florida had violated Ms. Burton's constitutional right to make decisions about medical care related to her pregnancy.
The ACLU first learned about this case after Ms. Burton's pro bono lawyer, David Abrams, called us for help as he pursued an appeal of the lower court's order confining Ms. Burton to hospital bed rest. Frankly, I wasn't surprised to hear that the State of Florida had stepped in to override the medical decision-making of a pregnant woman — unfortunately we have seen that before. What was even more stunning than in other cases was the unlimited breadth of the court order; the complete lack of any consideration of Ms. Burton's constitutional rights or health; and the fact that the hearing had gone forward with no legal or other advocate to represent Ms. Burton. After a brief telephone hearing, and no review of her medical records or consideration of a second medical opinion, the circuit court summarily ordered Ms. Burton to submit to any and all medical treatments and interventions — including eventually a C-section — that the hospital's medical staff deemed appropriate. To top it off, the court ordered her to remain confined on constant bed rest at the very hospital where the disagreement arose, and expressly prohibited her from switching to another hospital.
At yesterday's argument, Florida defended its request for these measures by insisting that it was a very narrow intervention, for a "short" time, designed to simply preserve the "status quo" until the court could determine the proper course of medical care for Ms. Burton's fetus.

Do you think the doctor and courts did the right thing or do you think they superseded Ms. Burton's constitutional rights?? Please share in the comments what you think.

©2008-2010 Patricia Garza

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