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Archive for April, 2016

unborn feel pain (2)Kansas abortion statistics for 2015 were released today by the Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment (KDHE). The figures revealed an overall 4.4% drop from 2014 and the lowest abortion total since 1987!

6,931 abortions were done in Kansas in 2015. KDHE reports 53% (3,579) were obtained by Kansas women and teens and 47% (3,395) obtained by non-residents. (KDHE includes an additional 43 Kansas women who obtained abortions outside Kansas for a total of 6,974.)

For the first time since KDHE abortion reporting began, an abortion was reported as done to preserve the life of the mother. The medical situation of that one abortion, as described by KDHE, was severe pre-eclampsia, with a separated placenta.

The baby was listed as 22 weeks gestation, but undersized for that age. No location for the procedure is indicated, and it may have occurred outside of an abortion clinic setting. Two other abortions past 22 weeks gestation were done on Kansas women in other states.

The 2011 Kansas Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act allows an abortion at or after 22 weeks gestation (20 weeks post-fertilization) necessary to preserve the mother’s life or prevent substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

“Except in the case of a medical emergency,” the law requires a written referral from another unaffiliated physician, who is “knowledgeable in the field, and knowledgeable about the case.”

WICHITA ABORTIONS DECREASE, ABORTIONIST “INACTIVE”
The good news discovered in the KDHE release was that 14% fewer abortions (down to 720 from 834) were obtained in Sedgwick County, which covers the city of Wichita. This county had been the only one in Kansas’ recent history to show any increase in abortions. After a historic low of 566 abortions in Sedgwick County in 2012, the number rose to 691 in 2013, and then increased again to 834 in 2014.

Chastine without KS medical privileges

Chastine lacks KS medical privileges

The abortion rise was attributed to heavy promotion of the 2013 opening of the SouthWind Women’s Center (in the former abortion location of George Tiller), staffed by a variety of itinerant abortionists. The medical director of that business from the outset has been Cheryl Chastine, originally from Illinois.

Chastine has been featured in pro-abortion media reports describing her frustration with providing abortions in a pro-life state. But her Kansas medical license has gone “inactive” (see here), meaning she is registered with the state Healing Arts Board through May 2016, but is not allowed to practice medicine in Kansas. Just how that is affecting abortion numbers is unclear.

Last month, Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri in Wichita announced it was expanding to onsite provision of abortion pills in conjunction with abortionists from its Overland Park facility.

OTHER TRENDS
In other items of concern, there were 11 fewer abortions performed in Kansas in 2015 using the gruesome method of dismembering a well-formed, living unborn child. However, because the overall numbers dropped from 640 to 629, the proportion of this method to total abortions rose slightly from 8.8% to 9%.

The state of Kansas enacted a ban on such barbaric dismemberment abortions, but it is not in effect due to a district court ruling striking the ban. The decision is now on appeal before the state Supreme Court. (see more here)

Kansas has one of the highest proportions of chemical abortions (abortions by “medication” or pill). However, in 2015, that number dropped by 136, from 3,228 in 2014 (44.4% of all abortions) to 3,092 in 2015 (44.3% of all abortions). In 2011, Kansas enacted a ban on abortions via “webcam” without a physician present, but that law is under injunction and not yet in effect.

Abortion has a long and continued history of coercion. KDHE data has shown a 50% increase in incidents under the “Report of Physical, Mental, or Emotional Abuse or Neglect Filed” connected to abortion provision. In 2014, 29 filings were logged in under this category, rising to 43 in 2015. No explanation is given as to the resolutions of these officially-filed matters, or for the jump in reports.

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Megan Barnes, 1985-2004

Megan Barnes, 1985-2004

Simon’s Law, Kansas Senate Bill 437, would require parent permission before a minor is coded as a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and would also require hospitals and other medical facilities, upon request, to disclose any existent “futility” policies. (See more here.)

This is the latest in a series from Kansans for Life that looks at the real lives affected when Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders are unilaterally issued by physicians. In the following, Ann and Frank Barnes share the details of how this practice ended the life of their precious daughter, Megan.

“Both our beloved daughter, Megan, and Simon Crosier– for whom the Simon’s Law legislation is named– were born with the same rare syndrome but Megan’s diagnosis was not immediately detected.  She was full term but small, with a ventricular septal defect and a minor lip defect.   Such signs alerted doctors of possible chromosomal problems, so a blood sample was sent for genetic testing.  We were, however, able to bring her home at a week old.

Megan was over two months old when we heard the words “Trisomy 18” and the heartbreaking news that these babies fail to thrive and her life would be brief– up to a year at most.  When questioned as to what would cause her death, the response was a vague, “these babies don’t do well.” Hospice was suggested, but accepting Hospice care would be accepting the diagnosis which our hearts were not ready to do.

She was our daughter and loved, perhaps even more so, because of those predictions.

The fear of Megan dying weighed heavily on our hearts until we stopped waiting for her to die and began finding ways to help her. But in 1985 there was a lack of information about survivors living with this syndrome. We felt alone and longed to meet another child like Megan.

Her geneticist gave us a newsletter from the Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13 and Related Disorders (SOFT) when she was about 6 months old.  What a life changer! SOFT became both a life-line of information and a second family, with children like our daughter.  SOFT also has a compassionate medical advisor who has helped families for over three decades.  Because of the tremendous sense of worth given to each child at the annual SOFT conferences, we attended many, and still do.

I cannot tell you the number of times we said how glad we were to have Megan.  She gave us purpose, and taught us about patience, perseverance, resilience, unconditional love, and more.  She had a sweet disposition and, like any child, enjoyed attention and praise.  Though she could not talk, she definitely let us know her preferences.  All-time favorites were the Disney video, Beauty and the Beast, a Texas Instrument toy– replaced more than once, and her 17th birthday party.  She enjoyed music and movement and the activity of physical therapy sessions.

Megan was content and knew she was loved, and it was obvious that what she valued most was being with people, especially those who loved her.

On Christmas Day, at age nineteen, Megan was hospitalized for virus-caused dehydration, in a pediatric intensive care unit at a major teaching hospital.

She died four days later.

We were devastated.

Only after her death did we request her hospitalization records and learned the horrible truth that our wishes for life support intervention had been overruled by a verbal order from the “attending” physician to his staff.   Megan had been issued a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order without our knowledge or consent. 

Had there been a requirement for a parent signature on a life support order in that hospital, this would not have happened.

It added so much more pain to our grief to learn that our daughter died because we trusted the wrong physician.  Instead of providing needed intervention, he misled us about what was happening, allowed her condition to decline, and then said there was nothing that could be done.

MEGAN’S LAST GIFT
Our daughter’s end-of-life lesson is about the vulnerability of parents and their children when the child is hospitalized. Parent-physician trust requires transparency and respect.

We believe any physician (hospital, medical society or hospital association) opposed to the parental signature requirement on a life support order, as proposed in Simon’s Law, has something to hide; and in some cases wants to control the outcome due to personal views about a particular disability or illness.

Megan outlived the survival statistics we were given when she was an infant, and she is not the only one with Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13 to have done this as a number of survivors are now young adults!  They have health issues, developmental challenges and a life-limiting disorder, but most importantly, they are living evidence that it is incorrect to claim these disorders are universally lethal.

Clearly, the risk of a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) code being imposed without parental knowledge or consent is increased for children like Megan and Simon. And this dire risk also applies for any child who suffers critical injury or illness.

We fully support Simon’s Law to help prevent this injustice from happening to another family.”

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Kansas parents that we hStop dnrave been conversing with about an important new bill, Simon’s Law, are absolutely stunned to discover that a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) or DNAR (Do Not Attempt Resuscitation) order can be placed in a child’s medical chart without the permission of any parent.

Simon’s Law is named for a case of this tragic deception which happened to the Crosier family five years ago. Simon, their three months old son with Trisomy 18, died due to a DNR order that was neither discussed with, nor permitted by, his parents. (Read more here and here.)

Simon’s death happened in St. Louis, but his dad is a Kansas native, with many extended family members who are Kansas residents.

While KFL was actively educating about Simon’s Law, new relevant scientific articles about this DNR/DNAR issue have been published. The article I will discuss here, published March 17 in BioEdge, reveals the shocking results of a survey of neonatologists— those pediatricians with special training in newborn intensive care. BioEdge writes:

“The authors of the article are sympathetic to the view that unilateral DNAR [DNR] orders are in certain circumstances ethically permissible. What’s more, they found that most American pediatricians agree with them.”

In essence, physicians entrusted to evaluate and treat infants in critical care situations willingly expressed their opinions that it is ethical for them to deny care “unilaterally” (without parental consultation and permission).

Granted, these survey results came from just one sixth of the 3,000 members of the American Society of Pediatrics Section of Perinatal Medicine who were sent surveys, but it surely is frightening.

Sheryl & Scott Crosier treasured their son, SImon

Sheryl and  Scott Crosier treasured their son Simon

  • 77% said it was ethically permissible to issue a unilateral DNAR order where doctors were treating an infant for whom survival was felt impossible;
  •  61% said it was ethically permissible when survival was felt ‘unlikely’;
  •  57% said a unilateral DNAR would be permissible if no curative treatment was available;
  • 25% said a unilateral DNAR order would be permissible based solely on neurological prognosis.

The many testimonies submitted to the Senate Health & Public Welfare Committee in support of Simon’s Law demonstrate that children have tragically died based on negative “quality of life” assessments by the medical community– particularly children with chromosomal disorders—even Down Syndrome.

Some physicians, in the context of highly expensive remedial treatment, believe they are responsible for “taking the matter in hand” and ending the life of a child– whom they consider a burden– but whom the parents see  as a gift.

Highly negative medical labeling–profiling– of both the unborn and newborns as “incompatible with life,” regularly occurs, in spite of evidence to the contrary from those with such conditions who survive for months, years and even decades.

On its face, a DNR/DNAR medical order for a minor that is issued without written permission indicates a desire to

  1. sidestep obtaining written parental consent, under the excuse of the emotional difficulty in discussing the matter; or
  2. avoid admitting that the physician/facility is committed to denial of life-sustaining treatment; or
  3. both.

Simon’s Law will protect lives threatened by medical discrimination and usurpation of parental rights by pediatric specialists claiming an “ethical” basis for denying life-sustaining care.

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