An Arrogant Profession. Sometimes.

I am shocked at the following story but not surprised. A doctor prematurely signs off the decision to turn off life support on a fifteen month old baby fighting for his life.

“Carol Povey, told the Herald on Sunday their 15-month-old son Paikea – one of twins – was taken to Starship Hospital in a critical condition and put on life support where they watched him fight for his life.

She said family members sat beside Paikea 24 hours a day holding on to hope at every sign of improvement including active bowels and breathing on his own after three days.

But eight days after the accident, Carol was shocked at a decision to turn off his oxygen.”

The medical profession in NZ is very competent and have been wonderful in most of my dealings with them. I certainly don’t believe the Dr in question would ever have taken the drastic step off stopping the oxygen without certainty that the boy would never have recovered – but you CAN NEVER KNOW. The Mother should have been absolutely comfortable with the decision and the way that this story presents, it’s a certainty this Doctor ¬†lives in a more rarefied atmosphere and does not deign to deal with mere mortals. It’s unfortunate. The family could have had a couple of weeks extra with the boy and separated at a time where they wouldn’t have felt the decision was taken out of their hands.¬†
Now they will never know if the miracle that might have bought there boy back to them might have occurred had they delayed. 
I had a stroke in 2006. Whilst experiencing immense pain and prior to going into a coma I told my husband: ” I think I am dying”.¬†
Turns out I was right. By the time the ambulance reached the hospital I was measuring 3 on the GCS scale,¬†Glasgow Coma scale¬†used to diagnose traumatic Brain Injury. I would have been dead without the required equipment. My brain stem had come under such immense pressure it ‘coned’ (been forced down into the stem.) This is usually fatal.
 I believe a similar stroke killed Anita Roddick of the Body Shop.
My husband was told to say goodbye to me and his unborn child, by some very compassionate professionals, working hard to put the globby bits back in the right place while the machines went PING.

Eight hours later I woke up completely physically disabled, and started asking for the morphine. My husband was most relieved that he still had a mother for our eighteen month old baby. The only casualty was my book-keeping business. Three months later I was able to work with the aid of a stick. My baby was born big and healthy four months later under the following scenario:

From Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life”, 1983
Hospital Administrator: And what are you doing this morning? 
Obstetrician: It’s a birth.¬†
Hospital Administrator: Ah. And what sort of thing is that? 
Dr. Spenser: Well, that’s where we take a new baby out of a lady’s tummy.¬†
Hospital Administrator: Wonderful what we can do nowadays.

Personally I don’t believe we yet understand everything that “can be done”. Some doctors are better than others in reflecting the parameters of medical knowledge back to patients and parents, and allowing for a margin of error in judgement. And parents are always the best judges of their children’s condition.

It goes without saying the dad was a dickwad for driving while tired, but there but for the grace of God go we all.

Discuss and share:

Become enlightened.
Get the newsletter: