Thursday, January 9th, 2014
A Texas woman who collapsed and was declared brain dead after suffering an apparent blood clot in her lungs is remaining on life support despite her family’s wishes, the hospital citing Texas law prohibiting removing a pregnant woman from the machines. Thirty-three year-old Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of her collapse. More from The New York Times:
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Mrs. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant, the doctor said, and Texas is one of more than two dozen states that prohibit, with varying degrees of strictness, medical officials from cutting off life support to a pregnant patient.
More than a month later, Mrs. Munoz remains connected to life-support machines on the third floor of the I.C.U., where a medical team monitors the heartbeat of the fetus, now in its 20th week of development. Her case has become a strange collision of law, medicine, the ethics of end-of-life care and the issues swirling around abortion — when life begins and how it should be valued.
“It’s not a matter of pro-choice and pro-life,” said Mrs. Munoz’s mother, Lynne Machado, 60. “It’s about a matter of our daughter’s wishes not being honored by the state of Texas.”
Mrs. Munoz’s father, Ernest Machado, 60, a former police officer and an Air Force veteran, put it even more bluntly. “All she is is a host for a fetus,” he said on Tuesday. “I get angry with the state. What business did they have delving into these areas? Why are they practicing medicine up in Austin?”
Mrs. Munoz’s parents said they wanted to see the law overturned, but they have not sought any legal action against the hospital, though they have not ruled it out either.
The hospital maintains that it is following the law, although several experts in medical ethics said they believed the hospital was misinterpreting it. A crucial issue is whether the law applies to pregnant patients who are brain-dead as opposed to those in a coma or a vegetative state. The law, first passed by the Texas Legislature in 1989 and amended in 1999, states that a person may not withdraw or withhold “life-sustaining treatment” from a pregnant patient.
Mr. and Mrs. Machado said the hospital had made it clear to them that their daughter was brain-dead, but hospital officials have declined to comment on Mrs. Munoz’s care and condition, creating uncertainty over whether the hospital has formally declared her brain-dead.
A spokeswoman for the J.P.S. Health Network, the publicly financed hospital district in Tarrant County that runs the 537-bed John Peter Smith Hospital, defended the hospital’s actions. “In all cases, J.P.S. will follow the law as it applies to health care in the state of Texas,” the spokeswoman, Jill Labbe, said. “Every day, we have patients and families who must make difficult decisions. Our position remains the same. We follow the law.”
Friday, November 9th, 2012
Sweden’s government has drafted legislation that would prevent images of babies from appearing in formula ads, the Huffington Post reports. Ads for formula would only be permitted in scientific journals, and free samples or discounts on the product would be prohibited, as well. Supporters cite research lauding the health benefits babies derived from breast milk, including antibodies associated with fewer colds, healthier digestive systems, and decreased likelihood of developing allergies. Critics argue that reiterating the idea that “the breast is best” is harshly judgmental towards women who are unable or choose not to nurse. If the bill is passed, the law would take effect in August 2013.
Image: Baby drinking from bottle via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
The Denver neighborhood of Stapleton is reportedly considering banning the popular summertime pastime of children drawing on sidewalks with chalk. Citing concerns that the art is distracting and disruptive to the neighbors. The local CBS news station has more:
[Mother Sarah Cohen] said they moved to Stapleton because it was a family-friendly neighborhood.
“We live on a courtyard and we all bought into the notion that we were sharing a space,” said Cohen.
But the group — called a Innovations and Courtyard Traditions at Stapleton, a sub-association of the Stapleton MCA (Master Community Association) — said because it is a shared space, anything that offends, disturbs or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment isn’t allowed. It seems that some neighbors have complained.
“The association is trying to go down a path of do no harm and prevent the sidewalk art as opposed to… until such time as it can get together and discuss it,” said the attorney representing the group.
Cohen said no neighbors have mentioned anything to her. She also plans to keep letting her daughter use chalk to decorate the common area.
“It’s summertime and God forbid my daughter is drawing flowers, her name and hearts,” said Cohen.
Image: Sidewalk chalk, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
A bill under consideration by the Wisconsin legislature would penalize single mothers on the grounds that their unmarried status contributes to social ills including child abuse and neglect.
The state’s Republican Senator Glenn Grothman introduced Senate Bill 507, Yahoo! Shine reports, which contains language requiring the state to amend existing state law “requiring the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”
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The bill would require educational and public awareness campaigns held by the board to emphasize that not being married is abusive and neglectful of children, and to underscore “the role of fathers in the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect.”
Saying that people “make fun of old-fashioned families,” Grothman — who has never been married and has no children — criticized social workers for not agreeing that children should only be raised by two married biological parents, and told a state Senate committee that he hopes the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention board, of which he’s a member, could “publicize something that’s politically incorrect but has to be said in our society.”
For more analysis of this issue from Parents.com, read Julia Landry’s post on Unexpectedly Expecting.
Image: Mother with sleepy baby, via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
A Virginia couple must face a judge in March for bringing their children late to school too many times. Amy and Mark Denicore of Waterford, Va., have both been charged with three misdemeanors, which carry a fine of up to $500 each.
A USA Today blog reports that since September, the Denicores’ three children, all under age 10, have been tardy 85 times, usually arriving minutes after the bell. The family lives just a few blocks from Waterford Elementary School, and Amy Denicore either drives them, or the children walk to school.
Mark Denicore, an attorney, told reporters that his children have missed less than three hours each since the school year began. He called the charges “pretty extreme.”
A spokesman for the school district says that schools are “charged by the state” to deal with problems like tardiness. “If somebody is coming in after the bell when everybody is seated and on task, the teacher then has to repeat the lesson and it is disruptive,” he says.
Readers, are these charges fair? How often are your kids late for school? What do you do to make sure they’re on time?
Image: Woman holding alarm clock via Shutterstock.
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