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Re: [disabilitystudies] FWD: Detectives to investigate doctor who suffocated a 'hopeless' newborn baby

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  • lm murray
    Keith, oh herald of good cheer, Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoy perusing your photos, esp. early century aids to invalids, which remind me of
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 1 12:16 PM
      Keith, oh herald of good cheer,
       
      Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoy perusing your photos, esp. early century aids to invalids, which remind me of that strange Cronenberg horror-fest featuring twin mysoginist gynecologists - remember them?  Eeeeeoooooooooo!
       
      Louise

      Keith Armstrong <keitharm@...> wrote:
      A hospital doctor who admitted suffocating a severely disabled baby 34
      years ago is being investigated by murder squad detectives.

      The junior doctor wrote a magazine article in which she claimed to
      have placed a pillow over a newborn girl for 20 minutes at a hospital
      in north London.

      The then senior house officer in paediatrics said that she had killed
      the baby, which was born without a brain, to spare the parents the
      trauma of having to watch the child die.

      The doctor wrote in the 1988 article: "I turned the baby on her face,
      put a pillow over her head and held it there until she stopped
      breathing. It took 20 minutes for her to die. They were the longest 20
      minutes in my life."

      She added: "Surely I am not the only doctor to have killed a severely
      handicapped baby."

      The unnamed doctor, who used the pseudonym of Ivy Walker, is being
      investigated by detectives from the Metropolitan Police's Homicide and
      Serious Crime Command for evidence of murder or manslaughter.

      The police have admitted that it will be extremely difficult to
      investigate an alleged incident, where there are no remains, involving
      something that happened at an unnamed location more than 30 years ago.

      The case highlights the issue of how to treat newborn babies with no
      chance of living. A recent poll of Irish paediatricians found that 75
      per cent have admitted withdrawing or withholding life-saving
      treatment from "hopeless" newborn babies. Opponents of any form of
      euthanasia believe the act is murder and should be treated as such.

      In the case under investigation, the doctor wrote in the New Society
      magazine, which has since been incorporated into the New Statesman,
      under the headline "Killing for Kindness".

      The paediatrician said that, at the time, it was thought best for the
      parents not to see the newborn child in cases which were hopeless - an
      approach that has since changed.

      The baby girl was suffering from anencephaly - a defect resulting in
      the absence of a large part of the brain - which usually leaves the
      child blind, deaf, unconscious and unable to feel pain. If the infant
      is not stillborn, then he or she will usually die within a few hours
      or days after birth.

      The doctor wrote: "The obstetric staff ... were adamant that the baby
      must not live, even for a few hours, as that would mean the parents
      would have to be told she was alive. They would then have the
      distressing experience of having to register the birth and then the
      death of their child."

      The paediatrician said that after suffocating the child, "I fled the
      maternity unit in tears". The medic continued: "The guilt and sorrow I
      felt at the time are, to some extent, with me still. I can still see
      her face, blotching and purple from asphyxia." The doctor said that,
      with 16 years of experience, she knew "it was wrong of us to deny
      those parents the opportunity to grieve."

      Early this year the British Medical Association, which represents more
      than 130,000 doctors, voted to oppose all forms of assisted dying. In
      the first detailed examination of child euthanasia a study of Dutch
      doctors reported 22 "mercy killings" of terminally ill babies since
      1997. None of the doctors involved was charged, although euthanasia
      for children is illegal in the Netherlands.

      The UK campaign group, Dignity in Dying, believes only adults of a
      sound mind should be given the choice to take their own lives, and
      that cases involving children should be left to the courts.

      Euthanasia - a personal testimony

      This is an edited extract from an article written in 1988 by a doctor
      under the pseudonym of Ivy Walker

      In the summer of 1972, I was a senior house officer in paediatrics at
      a large north London hospital.

      One Sunday lunchtime, not long after I had started the job, I was
      called to the labour ward to an anencephalic[ literally brainless]
      child. I asked why I was needed, because these children are usually
      stillborn, and was told: "To deal with the baby!"

      The birth was fairly easy. As soon as the cord was cut, the baby and I
      were ushered out. There was great haste about this as the parents had
      been assured that the baby would be born dead and that they should put
      it out of their minds immediately. But the baby, a girl, was not dead.
      Apart from the entire absence of a brain, she was perfect in every
      other way.

      The obstetric staff... were adamant that the baby must not live, even
      for a few hours, as that would mean the parents would have to be told
      she was alive.

      They would then have the distressing experience of having to register
      the birth and then the death of their child. It was thought by
      everyone, including me, that this would be too much for them. They had
      been told the baby was dead and dead she must be.

      It was made clear that I was the paediatrician and the baby was my
      problem. So I turned the baby on her face, put a pillow over her head
      and held it there until she stopped breathing.

      It took 20 minutes for her to die. They were the longest 20 minutes in
      my life. I became increasingly distressed and when eventually she did
      die, I fled the maternity unit in tears. I do not know what happened
      to the baby's body afterwards, though I suspect it was taken to the
      hospital incinerator. The whole point was to ensure there was nothing
      for the parents to have to bury.

      The guilt and sorrow I felt at the time are, to some extent, with me
      still. I can still see her face, blotching and purple from asphyxia.

      In the light of 16 years' experience, I would, of course, handle the
      situation very differently now.

      Looking back, it seems incredible how little I and the rest of the
      profession knew then about the emotional side of pregnancy, birth and
      the need to mourn one's dead baby.

      It was very wrong of us to deny those parents the opportunity to
      grieve. We probably prolonged the very distress we were trying to prevent.

      Hardest of all to live with is the knowledge that I caused another
      human being more distress in death than she would have had dying
      naturally. This baby would certainly have died within a few hours -
      why, why did I have to interfere?

      A hospital doctor who admitted suffocating a severely disabled baby 34
      years ago is being investigated by murder squad detectives.

      The junior doctor wrote a magazine article in which she claimed to
      have placed a pillow over a newborn girl for 20 minutes at a hospital
      in north London.

      The then senior house officer in paediatrics said that she had killed
      the baby, which was born without a brain, to spare the parents the
      trauma of having to watch the child die.

      The doctor wrote in the 1988 article: "I turned the baby on her face,
      put a pillow over her head and held it there until she stopped
      breathing. It took 20 minutes for her to die. They were the longest 20
      minutes in my life."

      She added: "Surely I am not the only doctor to have killed a severely
      handicapped baby."

      The unnamed doctor, who used the pseudonym of Ivy Walker, is being
      investigated by detectives from the Metropolitan Police's Homicide and
      Serious Crime Command for evidence of murder or manslaughter.

      The police have admitted that it will be extremely difficult to
      investigate an alleged incident, where there are no remains, involving
      something that happened at an unnamed location more than 30 years ago.

      The case highlights the issue of how to treat newborn babies with no
      chance of living. A recent poll of Irish paediatricians found that 75
      per cent have admitted withdrawing or withholding life-saving
      treatment from "hopeless" newborn babies. Opponents of any form of
      euthanasia believe the act is murder and should be treated as such.

      In the case under investigation, the doctor wrote in the New Society
      magazine, which has since been incorporated into the New Statesman,
      under the headline "Killing for Kindness".

      The paediatrician said that, at the time, it was thought best for the
      parents not to see the newborn child in cases which were hopeless - an
      approach that has since changed.

      The baby girl was suffering from anencephaly - a defect resulting in
      the absence of a large part of the brain - which usually leaves the
      child blind, deaf, unconscious and unable to feel pain. If the infant
      is not stillborn, then he or she will usually die within a few hours
      or days after birth.

      The doctor wrote: "The obstetric staff ... were adamant that the baby
      must not live, even for a few hours, as that would mean the parents
      would have to be told she was alive. They would then have the
      distressing experience of having to register the birth and then the
      death of their child."

      The paediatrician said that after suffocating the child, "I fled the
      maternity unit in tears". The medic continued: "The guilt and sorrow I
      felt at the time are, to some extent, with me still. I can still see
      her face, blotching and purple from asphyxia." The doctor said that,
      with 16 years of experience, she knew "it was wrong of us to deny
      those parents the opportunity to grieve."

      Early this year the British Medical Association, which represents more
      than 130,000 doctors, voted to oppose all forms of assisted dying. In
      the first detailed examination of child euthanasia a study of Dutch
      doctors reported 22 "mercy killings" of terminally ill babies since
      1997. None of the doctors involved was charged, although euthanasia
      for children is illegal in the Netherlands.

      The UK campaign group, Dignity in Dying, believes only adults of a
      sound mind should be given the choice to take their own lives, and
      that cases involving children should be left to the courts.

      Euthanasia - a personal testimony

      This is an edited extract from an article written in 1988 by a doctor
      under the pseudonym of Ivy Walker

      In the summer of 1972, I was a senior house officer in paediatrics at
      a large north London hospital.

      One Sunday lunchtime, not long after I had started the job, I was
      called to the labour ward to an anencephalic[ literally brainless]
      child. I asked why I was needed, because these children are usually
      stillborn, and was told: "To deal with the baby!"

      The birth was fairly easy. As soon as the cord was cut, the baby and I
      were ushered out. There was great haste about this as the parents had
      been assured that the baby would be born dead and that they should put
      it out of their minds immediately. But the baby, a girl, was not dead.
      Apart from the entire absence of a brain, she was perfect in every
      other way.

      The obstetric staff... were adamant that the baby must not live, even
      for a few hours, as that would mean the parents would have to be told
      she was alive.

      They would then have the distressing experience of having to register
      the birth and then the death of their child. It was thought by
      everyone, including me, that this would be too much for them. They had
      been told the baby was dead and dead she must be.

      It was made clear that I was the paediatrician and the baby was my
      problem. So I turned the baby on her face, put a pillow over her head
      and held it there until she stopped breathing.

      It took 20 minutes for her to die. They were the longest 20 minutes in
      my life. I became increasingly distressed and when eventually she did
      die, I fled the maternity unit in tears. I do not know what happened
      to the baby's body afterwards, though I suspect it was taken to the
      hospital incinerator. The whole point was to ensure there was nothing
      for the parents to have to bury.

      The guilt and sorrow I felt at the time are, to some extent, with me
      still. I can still see her face, blotching and purple from asphyxia.

      In the light of 16 years' experience, I would, of course, handle the
      situation very differently now.

      Looking back, it seems incredible how little I and the rest of the
      profession knew then about the emotional side of pregnancy, birth and
      the need to mourn one's dead baby.

      It was very wrong of us to deny those parents the opportunity to
      grieve. We probably prolonged the very distress we were trying to prevent.

      Hardest of all to live with is the knowledge that I caused another
      human being more distress in death than she would have had dying
      naturally. This baby would certainly have died within a few hours -
      why, why did I have to interfere?

      By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent Published: 31 August 2006

      more goto:
      <http://news. independent. co.uk/uk/ crime/article122 2822.ece>



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    • Keith Armstrong
      Louise, your horror story makes me think about the Jewish lesbian feminist, Lillian D. Wald, who campaigned for the killing of children with impairments at the
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 3 12:27 PM
        Louise,

        your horror story makes me think about the Jewish lesbian feminist,
        Lillian D. Wald, who campaigned for the killing of children with
        impairments at the Chicago German-American hospital in 1915. Wald's
        attitude was certainly phobic as revealed in book 'The House on Henry
        Street'. It is ironic that her phobic attitudes had an influence on
        the Nazi holocaust against the German and Jewish communities of people
        with impairments and the gas chambers. Non-disabled people later
        suffered the same fate.

        Keith


        --- In disabilitystudies@yahoogroups.com, lm murray <lmm789@...> wrote:
        >
        > Keith, oh herald of good cheer,
        >
        > Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoy perusing your
        photos, esp. early century aids to invalids, which remind me of that
        strange Cronenberg horror-fest featuring twin mysoginist gynecologists
        - remember them? Eeeeeoooooooooo!
        >
        > Louise
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