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Archive for February, 2017

Sheryl & Scott Crosier treasured their son, Simon

Sheryl & Scott Crosier lost their son, Simon, to a secret DNR placement

“Simon’s Law” is named for a medically fragile baby born with Trisomy 18 and apnea (breathing difficulty), who died when resuscitation was denied.

His devastated parents, Sheryl and Scott Crosier, only learned later that Simon’s hospital chart contained a DNR [Do Not Resuscitate] that was never discussed, much less permitted by them. They have mounted a grassroots crusade to alert parents and enact this law to protect parents’ rights.

Simon’s Law has the support of numerous pro-life medical groups and professionals, as well as other families who discovered (after the fact) that they also lost a child to a secretly-placed DNR. (see here)

Unfortunately, the medical climate is not tilted in the Crosiers’ favor. A survey of pediatricians last year found that up to 73% of them would issue DNRs without parental permission to children with severe, life-limiting conditions.

Sheryl was recently contacted by a Texas mom with the disturbing account that her 18-month-old son went to the hospital with RSV (a rather common illness) and the hospital tried to place a DNR in the toddler’s chart! The child had no other medical problem or condition but the RSV.

Simon’s Law will insure that DNRs will not be issued unilaterally by physicians and hospitals. All parents need this law–and not only those whose children might be medically discriminated against as lacking “quality of life.”

Brenda Spurlock & Son Zach with Sheryl Crosier

Brenda & Zach Spurlock with Sheryl Crosier(r) support Simon’s Law

KANSAS TESTIMONY
The following is the story of a Kansas mom, with special needs children, who came to testify in favor of Simon’s Law.

Seven and a half years ago, a medically fragile baby boy, Zachariah, was born in a Kansas hospital.

He lacked a significant portion of his skull, and a portion of his brain had developed into a separate sack attached to the back of his head.

Due to those challenges, his hospital chart contained a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR).

A few days after his birth, Zach suffered a long period of apnea and because of the DNR, he was removed from monitors, wrapped in a blanket, and handed to his biological mother to die.

Several minutes into the episode, baby Zach self-resuscitated. At that point his young parents asked medical personnel to do all they could for him.

Zach was alive, but needed to remain hospitalized. His unmarried mom had been matched by the perinatal experts at Alexandra’s House in Kansas City with a “mentor,” Brenda Spurlock, to support her during the pregnancy and afterwards.

Brenda had experience navigating a complicated NICU situation as her own daughter, Tatum, had also been born with a sac bulging from the back of her head. In addition, Tatum had been given a “fatal” diagnosis of Trisomy 18, which included neurological and physiological defects.

As Zach approached one month of age, his birth mom felt increasingly unequipped to care for him. Brenda and her husband Jack adopted Zach, welcoming him into their family of seven children.

Zach & Tatum Spurlock

Zach & Tatum Spurlock

CHILDREN EXCEED DIRE DIAGNOSES
Brenda Spurlock came to the Kansas Capitol Feb.16th to testify in support of Simon’s Law. She told the Senate Federal & State Affairs Committee:

     “We were warned Zach’s life would be very short. In fact, we were told he would likely not live out the month and that the best case scenario was a 3-5 year life span, fraught with life threatening seizures and bouts of pneumonia. We were also warned he would exist in a semi-vegetative state.

Yet he has never suffered a single seizure, nor has he ever experienced a bout of pneumonia. 

The portion of his brain that was removed was thought to contain his visual cortex and we were told he would be blind, but he sees! 

He has cerebral palsy, autism, profound global delays, and hemiplegia on the right side of his body. But he is a delight. He does not know a bad day, only a bad moment, and then he puts that award winning smile back on his face and marches on! 

Our daughter, Tatum, has had full genetic testing and her particular chromosomal tripling has never before been documented or journaled. Her life was judged by an unknown…and they were wrong! Tatum has far surpassed any of the prenatal and postnatal prognoses that were given to us, and on February 10 she celebrated her 9th birthday.

When we adopted Zach, we removed the DNR that had been placed in his medical records. 

I think every parent of a medically-fragile child should be aware of the choice to sign a DNR for their child, and I would hope that choice could be offered tactfully. But I stand firmly against medical professionals making a life choice for an infant or child based on a prenatal diagnosis, or set of tests.”

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Sen. Jacob LaTurner, chair of Senate Federal & State Affairs committee, with Zach & Brenda Spurlock

Today’s hearing on “Simon’s Law” in the Kansas Senate Federal & State Affairs committee room was a tale of two little boys.

One dear boy, Simon, was alive only in cherished memories detailed to the committee. Another, Zach, –whom medical experts claimed would never be more than a “vegetable”—jiggled and squirmed in his seat and would smile at various people in the room, and say “Hi!”

Baby Simon

Baby Simon

Today, Sheryl Crosier was the key witness as Kansas renews consideration of Simon’s Law, SB 85. Simon’s Law passed the Senate 37-3 last spring but didn’t get through the House process in time to become law. Thus hearings started anew this year. Simon’s Law preserves the rights of parents in the issuance of “Do Not Resuscitate ”(DNR) orders to minors.

Sheryl very poignantly recounted (or, perhaps more accurately, relived) how her baby son, Simon, died six years ago in front of her and her husband, Scott, at the hospital where he had lived his entire young, three months of life.

Simon & family

Simon Crosier with family

After the heartbreak of burying their child, the Crosiers discovered that the reason baby Simon was dead was because, without their permission, a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order had been placed in his medical chart.  The bad news mounted: the hospital had a written “futility” policy concerning when life-sustaining procedures would not be given.

Simon had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18 disorder three days after birth. For many years, such children were immediately labeled as having a lethal condition, and were not treated. The medical community is slowly starting to abandon labeling children like Simon as “incompatible with life,”  according to a brand new article this week that appears in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association.)

Thus began the Crosiers’ crusade to alert parents, especially those with medically fragile children, that a death by secret DNR could happen to them.

Along the way, other parents, researchers and doctors have joined in the crusade to pass Simon’s Law.

The case was strongly made in committee today with a large number of proponents, including Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is a surgeon. Four medical groups have supported Simon’s Law since last year. The committee will “work” the bill for passage as early as this coming Monday.

tatum-and-zach

Tatum & Zach Spurlock outstripped “expectations”

The truly beautiful side note to the hearing was the presence of a boy who has far outstripped his “expectations.” Kansans Jack & Brenda Spurlock, whose nine- year-old daughter Tatum has outlived her “fatal” diagnosis of Trisomy 18, came to the Capitol to testify for Simon’s Law.

Tatum was not present today, due to the flu, but her brother, 7 1/2 year-old Zach, melted the hearts of the whole room.

Zach was born without a significant portion of his skull, and with a large occipital encephalocele that contained a portion of his brain. He was predicted to have seizures and other afflictions his whole life. Not so! Zach stayed throughout the one-hour hearing, exhibiting “best behavior.” 

The committee truly witnessed the joy of  a life that has too often been labeled as not worth sustaining, and the tragedy of taking a life due to preconceived “quality of life” judgments.

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Judge Franklin Theis

Judge Franklin Theis

Abortionist Neuhaus

Abortionist Kris Neuhaus

I experienced an all-too familiar shudder when I recently learned Shawnee District Judge Franklin Theis had again overturned the Kansas State Healing Arts Board’s decision to revoke the license of disgraced abortionist Kris Neuhaus.

The first time her medical license was revoked, in July 2012, was for “professional incompetence” and “failing to meet minimum requirements for maintaining records.”  In March 2014, Judge Theis overturned the Board’s revocation.

The Board revoked Neuhaus’s license a second time in January 2015. (read more here)

Par for the course, Judge Theis took two years to issue his most recent decision undermining the Kansas State Healing Arts Board.

This is the same judge who, for five years, stalled motions to move forward on the lawsuit blocking Kansas’ long-sought law regulating abortion clinics.

ksbha-safeguardingThe Board, which has conservatively spent about $100,000 on this Neuhaus case, will consider how to proceed at their June meeting. (read more here)

I ploughed through Judge Theis’ brain-numbing 97-page ruling. The bottom line is that Judge Theis believes the Board’s “charge list” against Neuhaus is improperly worded under statute and misuses their own Disciplinary Guidelines grid.

INFAMOUS SCHEME
Neuhaus is the failed abortionist who made a living from 1999-2007 rubberstamping the legally-required mental health referrals for late-term abortions. She performed this “service” minutes before the abortions, and inside the Wichita abortion clinic of the late George Tiller.

Under the 1998 state law, the role she was supposed to play was that of an “independent” check on post-viability abortions by providing bona fide second opinions on maternal health. According to court records, before Neuhaus accepted the job, Tiller had called approximately 100 Kansas physicians who refused to participate in such an arrangement.

The specific patient cases used by the Board to justify Neuhaus’ revocation were

11 teens in 2003 for whom she used an online mental health “tool” to certify that the girls required third-trimester abortions.

Kansas has since banned all abortions after 20 weeks due to the unborn child’s proven capacity to experience pain. (read more on the law here)

COURT SAGA
The 58-year-old Neuhaus has been officially in trouble with the Board for the better part of the last 25 years, which has twice characterized her as a “danger to the public.”

Thousands of citizen petitions about Neuhaus had been sent to the state Board before it acted to revoke her medical license in July 2012 for

  1.  incompetence;
  2.  failing to meet the standard of care; and
  3.  record-keeping failure.

But in March of 2014, Judge Theis tossed the Board’s first two findings. He said they were based only on “an inference” from problems with her records –or lack of records–and remanded the case back to the Board  to refine the third charge.

The Kansas Court of Appeals refused to reverse Theis’s ruling in June of 2014. (read more here)

In January 2015, the Board issued a second revocation, and a lowered legal bill for Neuhaus to reimburse.  The Board characterized her as stubborn and “incapable of successful rehabilitation.”

Seems to me that description could also be applied to Judge Theis. Stay tuned.

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Sen LaTurner

Fed-State Chair Jacob LaTurner

Should Kansas abortion clinics continue to deny basic data about their abortionists from women considering abortion?

The Kansas Senate Federal State Affairs committee said “no!” to that on Wednesday morning.

With only the ranking minority and the two newest senators in opposition, the committee passed SB 98/ the DISCLOSE ACT. Committee chairman, Sen. Jacob LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) said he expects it will likely be voted on by the full Senate next week.

SB 98, the DISCLOSE ACT, updates the 1997 Kansas Woman’s Right to Know statutes by requiring that the abortion consent form reveal a few essentials about each abortionist, including year of medical degree, state residency, and whether he/she has local hospital privileges.

Women in Kansas considering abortion are completely in the dark about the practitioner that will be assigned to them by the abortion clinic. Kansas abortion appointments are made with a single phone call or email contact.

Paperwork designed by each clinic that supposedly covers the legal requirements of informed consent is available online. But the clinics’ consent forms really do not properly embody the intent of the Woman’s Right to Know law when they list all staff abortionists and have the woman estimate her gestational age.

Sen. Rob Olson

Sen. Rob Olson

Some of the data about Kansas physicians in the DISCLOSE ACT  can be found– with diligent effort –on the state website of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts. Too bad that the Board uses only half of the categories recommended by The Federation of State Medical Boards for physician profiling (see: here and here)

Pro-abortion testimony in Tuesday’s hearing showed grave ignorance of the principles of voluntary and fully informed consent. Testimony generally whined that the proposed simple disclosures were “unnecessary”, “absurd”, “redundant” and “prejudicial.” Poppycock.

WOMAN, NOT CLINIC TO CHOOSE INFO
A woman has a complete right to choose her physician by balancing factors she considers relevant in the abortion context. These include a practitioner’s gender, age, training, skill (or lack of it), length of time he/she has been working at that clinic, and whether he/she can participate in possible emergencies at the hospital.

The Kansas abortion clinics may indeed be embarrassed to disclose information that shows:

  • four of the seven Kansas abortionists are 75-78 years of age;
  • four (or fewer) of the seven have local hospital privileges;
  • one clinic has had 100% turnover in abortionists in only 3 years;
  • one abortionist was told by the Healing Arts Board not to practice ob/gyn.

Abortion consent forms under existent statute KSA 65-6710(b) must be printed in a typeface large enough to be clearly legible.

Kansas abortion clinics, however, have been playing games with the forms as to font sizes and colors and inserting opinion statements meant to undermine the mandated facts. That forced SB 98 to insure that the disclosures are in 12 pt. Black ink, Times New Roman font. To remedy potential mischief of black type on black background, Sen. Rob Olson (R-Olathe) amended SB 98 to insure the form prints out on white paper.

Read more about the new SB 98 here.

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Sen. Molly Baumgartner

Sen. Molly Baumgartner

The empty rhetoric of choice is being challenged in Kansas with the DISCLOSE ACT, Senate Bill 98. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Molly Baumgartner (R-Louisburg), with 19 other Senate co-sponsors, would for the first time, require clinics to disclose baseline data about each Kansas abortionist they employ.

A companion bill in the House will be introduced shortly with a strong number of co-sponsors.

On Tuesday morning, the Senate Federal and State Affairs committee holds the first hearing on this topic. KFL will present the lead testimony on why this bill is needed, backed up with medical and legal testimony about the right to full disclosure for valid informed consent.

Under SB 98, the DISCLOSE ACT, the very first item on the abortion consent form will be expanded to provide a checklist for each practitioner as to:

  • Kansas residency,
  • medical degree year,
  • years employed at that location,
  • hospital privileges status,
  • malpractice coverage, and disciplinary actions completed by the State Board of Healing Arts (which regulates physicians).

The clinics can very easily add this information to their online admission forms.

The U.S. Supreme Court key ruling on informed consent, Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), acknowledged that the state can enact regulations to ensure that a woman’s choice was “thoughtful and informed.”(Casey at 916)

Kansas City-area litigation attorney Jonathan Whitehead asserts that while the law, medicine and technology have advanced, the Kansas 1997 Woman’s Right to Know statute has stayed relatively the same.

“Disclosures provided to women in Kansas have moved from leading edge to obsolete. SB 98 responds to that by requiring specific information about the provider(s) to be given to women in a legible format, at least 24 hours prior to any non-emergency abortion.”

Currently, all Kansas abortion consent forms are available online, and a copy of the form, printed out with a time-stamp at least 24 hours prior to the abortion, must be brought with the woman to the clinic.

However, all Kansas abortion businesses are not obeying the Woman’s Right to Know provision that the woman be given the identity of the one specific physician scheduled for her abortion. Instead, for convenience, the abortion clinics list ALL the abortionists on staff.

So the woman cannot “choose” the abortionist, nor can she evaluate if that practitioner is acceptable to her. She has no idea of the abortionist’s training, age, and professional reliability. There are no yellow pages of “abortion providers” –locally or nationally–as there are for heart surgeons, pediatricians, etc.

This information stranglehold is not faced in any other elective procedure. Personal recommendations and online research have become part of the way physicians are selected. A patient’s choice of surgeon, for example, may well preclude even the substitution of the physician’s partners.

But not in the abortion context; what the abortion clinic dictates is what controls.

Yet that conflicts with consent that is truly voluntary and fully informed. Topeka physician and director of Mary’s Choices pregnancy resource center, Dr. Melissa Colbern, explains that the decision-making capability of so many women navigating an unplanned pregnancy is already impaired by stress.

These women should have ready-access to information regarding physicians working in the abortion clinics, [including] licensing, hospital privileges, and medical board disciplinary actions. I counsel women in crisis pregnancies …that they should ask for this information and, in fact, have a right to this information.” 

Ideally, a woman considering abortion in Kansas will take advantage of the state-provided videos of gestational development and consider obtaining a free ultrasound at one of the numerous state-wide pregnancy resource centers. Ideally she will take serious time to reflect on her options.

But, at least she should have baseline professional information about practitioners disclosed on the consent form.

We’ll see how Kansas abortion businesses react to this eminently reasonable measure. Any guesses?

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