Sunday, October 23, 2005

Back Seat to Dinner

Mike Brown wanting to finish his dinner, while people were starving and dying in New Orleans, hit painfully close to home.

I remember 6 PM one fateful day in January of 1993. The co-assistant who had been on my side all day at the OLVG Hospital in Amsterdam, called the OB-GYN, who'd be on duty that evening. He wanted her permission to get me ready for the O.R. The doctor who did the intake 12 hours earlier, promised me a C-section if I hadn't dilated enough by 6 PM.
"A breech delivery has to run like a train, each station reached at a certain time," he told my husband and me. "We'll monitor you and your baby all day." And then he went home, off for the day.

At 6 PM I was dilated 1 cm, and yet the female doctor, who was having dinner, told the co-assistant, "Let her continue a while longer".
By 7 PM I was dilated the full 10 cm (imagine the tormenting storms that raged through my body), but the doctor was no where in sight. I had to wait pushing until she arrived at 7:30 PM, dressed in a knit outfit the color of dead liver. A nurse helped her in her white coat. At 7:55 PM our baby's body was born. But not her head. She suffocated during the last 5 minutes of the breech delivery.

Nationally the hospital policy concerning breech deliveries was changed ten years later.
Reluctantly. There are always those who think they can have their cake and eat it too.

That's what I think of, when I read about Mike Brown's business.
Some policy needs to be changed.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Earthquake in South Asia

What I hear on NPR:
Mr. Bush says, "We'll send cash money."
I can't help but wonder, who will lend us cash money, China?
Or should I just wonder who "we" are?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

E.R. Breech Delivery

I can write in all honesty that I hadn't watched a hospital t.v. series since 1992. Before my husband and I got together, I was hooked on St. Elsewhere, but my sweetheart didn't care to watch the illness and accident related misery, and wasn't intrigued by the dramatic relationships between doctors, nurses and patients.

The other night, while zapping, I happened upon a show that caught my interest. I had missed the beginning and didn't know the scene was part of an episode of E.R. What I saw were two fashionably dressed young women on the subway, who dissed a couple of plain looking women. The way they ridiculed their footwear somehow foreshadowed trouble. And trouble spelled interest.

The moment the fashion babes hit the platform, the meanest of the two tripped over her own high heels and crumbled into a heap of limbs. The plain girls assessed the trouble, "broken ankle", but the hip chick didn't believe that they were doctors. Later, in the E.R. she would face them both again; suffering from a black and blue ankle, with nobody to take care of her, because: "there are lives to save".

One of the young doctors was trying to get a surrogate mother to sign her consent to undergo a C-section. She was brought in after a minor traffic accident and while in the E.R., labor starts. She said she delivered her first baby at home, and she would prefer to go home for the delivery of the new baby as well. The doctors insisted she should stay. There was no crowning of a head, the baby was in breech.

The couple whose embryo was implanted in the young woman's uterus arrived. The man demanded a C-section. The rights of the woman who carried the baby were respected. If she didn't want to consent, she wouldn't be given a Caesarian. The young male doctor explained the dangers of delivering a breech baby vaginally. The mother was almost ready to sign, when the ob-gyn started telling her the dangers involved with C-section. Result: no signature.

With aching heart, I knew I needed the writers of the series to let the baby die.
Not that I would wish such tragedy upon anybody, on the contrary, my heart goes out to parents whose children die, no, I needed the message to come across. C-section IS saver for breech babies. The chance that brain damage occurs due to lack of oxygen, is too great. The effect damaging, if not fatale. Babies do die during breech deliveries. I know. Ours did. During the last 5 minutes of her birth.

In this E.R. episode, the baby suffered severe brain damage. The natural father refused to stay, "we didn't pay to have a brain dead child". The natural mother, who knew her last embryo lost, followed him, looking over her shoulder with regret.

The last scene showed the young doctor holdin vigil next to the incubator with the baby.
"He had a tough day, he shouldn't be alone tonight," he said to the ob-gyn who came to tell him he had done all he could.