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.
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