Tag Archives: infant

Gwen Moore introduces bill for national protocol in investigating infant deaths

Milwaukee Democrat Gwen Moore has introduced legislation in the U.S. House to develop standardized national guidelines for protocol in death scene investigations, autopsies and the collection of data following an infant or child death or stillbirth.

The Reducing Unexpected Deaths in Infants and Children Act would increase local and state funding to collect more complete and thorough data after an infant and child death, improve death scene investigations and expand support services for grieving families who have experienced the loss of an infant or child, according to a news release from Moore’s office.

To draft the bill, Moore collaborated local and national organizations, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Safe States Alliance, Society of Medicolegal Death Investigators, Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin.

She said in a statement, “With thousands of stillbirths and babies dying suddenly and unexpectedly every year in the United States, this stark reality demands our attention, our concern, and most importantly, our swift action.

“As one of the wealthiest nations in the world, I find it shameful that America’s infant mortality rate rivals that of many developing countries. My bill … provides valuable support to states, municipalities and organizations to help understand and combat child and infant death. We have the resources and capacity to prevent these tragedies from occurring. All we need now is the political will. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this critical legislation.”

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said, “We applaud Congresswoman Gwen Moore for continuing to support women and families by introducing The Reducing Unexpected Deaths in Infants and Children Act. This bill will help combat infant mortality by providing resources to improve the health of women before, between, beyond and during pregnancy. As the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood is dedicated to ensuring access to quality, affordable care for women  — essential pieces for preventing infant mortality and building strong, healthy families and communities.”

Lesbian parents: Pediatrician refused to treat infant daughter

Two Detroit-area women say they were humiliated when a pediatrician they selected to help care for their infant daughter declined to see the child because they are lesbians.

The Detroit Free Press reports Jami and Krista Contreras of Oak Park, Michigan, selected their daughter’s pediatrician before birth, but they learned the decision as they waited in October for the child’s first checkup. They say the doctor apologized in a handwritten letter.

Wayne State University Constitutional Law Professor Robert Sedler says there’s no Michigan or federal law prohibiting such a decision.

The doctor told the newspaper she couldn’t comment on the case, citing federal privacy law. She defended her commitment to pediatric medicine and helping children, saying her life is taking care of babies and she loves her patients and their families.

2-year-old kills mom in conceal-and-carry accident at Idaho Walmart

A 29-year-old woman described as a “beautiful, young, loving mother” was fatally shot by her 2-year-old son at a northern Idaho Walmart in what authorities called a tragic accident.

The boy reached into Veronica J. Rutledge’s purse and her concealed gun fired, Kootenai County sheriff’s spokesman Stu Miller said. The woman was shopping on Dec. 30 with her son and three other children, Miller said.

Rutledge was from Blackfoot in southeastern Idaho, and her family had come to the area to visit relatives.

She was an employee of the Idaho National Laboratory, The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington, reported. The Idaho Falls laboratory supports the U.S. Department of Energy in nuclear and energy research and national defense.

The woman had a concealed weapons permit. Miller said the young boy was left in a shopping cart, reached into his mother’s purse and grabbed a small-caliber handgun, which discharged one time.

Deputies who responded to the Walmart found Rutledge dead, the sheriff’s office said.

“It appears to be a pretty tragic accident,” Miller said.

The victim’s father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, told The Associated Press that Veronica Rutledge “was a beautiful, young, loving mother.”

“She was not the least bit irresponsible,” Terry Rutledge said. “She was taken much too soon.”

The woman’s husband was not in the store when the shooting happened at about 10:20 a.m. Dec. 30. Miller said the man arrived shortly after the shooting. All the children were taken to a relative’s house.

The shooting occurred in the Wal-Mart in Hayden, Idaho, a town about 40 miles northeast of Spokane. The store closed for the rest of the day.

Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for Walmart, said in a statement the shooting was a “very sad and tragic accident.”

“We are working closely with the local sheriff’s department while they investigate what happened,” Buchanan said.

Idaho National Laboratory senior chemical engineer Vince Maio worked with Rutledge on a research paper about using glass ceramic to store nuclear waste, The Spokesman-Review said.

Maio said he was immediately impressed with her.

“She had a lot of maturity for her age,” he told the newspaper. “Her work was impeccable. She found new ways to do things that we did before and she found ways to do them better.”

“She was a beautiful person,” he added.

There do not appear to be reliable national statistics about the number of accidental fatalities involving children handling guns.

In neighboring Washington state, a 3-year-old boy was seriously injured in November when he accidentally shot himself in the face in a home in Lake Stevens, about 30 miles north of Seattle.

In April, a 2-year-old boy apparently shot and killed his 11-year-old sister while they and their siblings played with a gun inside a Philadelphia home. Authorities said the gun was believed to have been brought into the home by the mother’s boyfriend.

Hayden is a politically conservative town of about 9,000 people just north of Coeur d’Alene, in Idaho’s northern panhandle.

Idaho lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year allowing concealed weapons on the state’s public college and university campuses.

Despite facing opposition from all eight of the state’s university college presidents, lawmakers sided with gun rights advocates who said the law would better uphold the Second Amendment.

Under the law, gun holders are barred from bringing their weapons into dormitories or buildings that hold more than 1,000 people, such as stadiums or concert halls.

Florida hospital threatens to force pregnant patient to undergo cesarean surgery

A Florida hospital has threatened to force a pregnant patient to undergo cesarean surgery against her will and to report her to child welfare authorities for exercising her right to medical decision-making.

The threat was made in a letter from the chief financial officer of Bayfront Health in Port Charlotte to Jennifer Goodall, a Cape Coral, Florida, mother of three who at the time was nearly 39 weeks pregnant.

The letter informed her that because she decided to have a trial of labor before agreeing to cesarean surgery, her prenatal care providers intended to report her to the state Department of Children and Family Services, seek a court order for the surgery and to perform cesarean surgery on her “with or without (her) consent” if she came to the hospital.

Goodall had three previous cesarean surgeries and based on that experience and careful informed consideration, seeks to avoid additional surgery if possible and to allow labor to proceed in hopes of having a vaginal birth after cesarean.

According to medical research, both VBAC and repeat cesarean surgery carry risks. The risk of uterine rupture increases for women who labor after having had previous cesarean surgeries, but the risks associated with another surgery also increase.

In fact, undergoing a cesarean surgery for the fourth time carries a 1 in 8 chance of major complications and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that 60-80 percent of women who attempt VBAC are successful.

“I would definitely consent to surgery if there were any indication during labor that it is necessary,” Goodall said. “I am trying to make the decision that will be safest for both me and my baby, and give me the greatest chance at being able to heal quickly after my child is born so I can care for my newborn and my three other children.”

National Advocates for Pregnant Women, with Florida attorney Patricia E. Kahn, filed a complaint on behalf of Goodall in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order preventing the hospital from carrying out its threats.

U.S. District Judge John E. Steele denied the request, stating, in part, that Goodall has no “right to compel a physician or medical facility to perform a medical procedure in the manner she wishes against their best medical judgment.”

Farah Diaz-Tello, staff attorney for NAPW, expressed disappointment in the ruling: “The process of labor and delivery isn’t a procedure; our client is the one trying to avoid a compelled medical procedure. Deciding whether and when to consent to surgery is a constitutionally protected right.”

Diaz-Tello said that every appellate court to rule on this issue on a full record has held that pregnant women retain their constitutional rights, including rights to medical decision-making and bodily-integrity.

“No woman should fear that because she’s pregnant, she can be threatened, coerced, or deprived of her constitutional rights,” the attorney said.

According to declarations of medical experts filed with the lawsuit, the hospital’s actions violate medical ethics. Mary Faith Marshall, Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics & Humanities at the University of Virginia School of Medicine called the hospital’s actions “troubling.”

Diaz-Tello acknowledged the hospital’s concerns about malpractice liability, but noted that there is no legal or ethical authority that supports managing liability concerns by forcibly performing unwanted surgery.

Here’s Jennifer Goodall’s complete statement, released on July 25:

My decision to allow labor to proceed before consenting to a surgical intervention is based on years of research, careful consideration of the risks to me and my baby, and my family’s needs. All I want is to be able to go to the hospital when I’m in labor and have my medical decisions respected – and my decision is to proceed with a trial of labor and not have cesarean surgery unless some medical complication arises that makes cesarean surgery necessary for my or my baby’s health. Instead of respecting my wishes like they would for any other patient, my health care providers have made me fear for my safety and custody of my children. The people who are supposed to be caring for me and my baby have put me into an even more dangerous situation. I know I’m not the only one to go through this; I’m speaking out because pregnant women deserve better.

Tests show baby born with HIV is in remission

Doctors now have convincing evidence that they put HIV into remission, hopefully for good, in a Mississippi baby born with the AIDS virus – a medical first that is prompting a new look at how hard and fast such cases should be treated.

The case was reported earlier this year but some doctors were skeptical that the baby was really infected rather than testing positive because of exposure to virus in the mom’s blood.

The new report, published online on Oct. 23 by the New England Journal of Medicine, makes clear that the girl, now 3, was infected in the womb. She was treated unusually aggressively and shows no active infection despite stopping AIDS medicines 18 months ago.

Doctors won’t call it a cure because they don’t know what proof or how much time is needed to declare someone free of HIV infection, long feared to be permanent.

“We want to be very cautious here. We’re calling it remission because we’d like to observe the child for a longer time and be absolutely sure there’s no rebound,” said Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga, a University of Massachusetts AIDS expert involved in the baby’s care.

The government’s top AIDS scientist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, agreed.

“At minimum, the baby is in a clear remission. It is possible that the baby has actually been cured. We don’t have a definition for cure as we do for certain cancers, where after five years or so you can be relatively certain the person is not going to go and relapse,” he said. A scientist at his institute did sophisticated tests that showed no active virus in the child.

A government-sponsored international study starting in January aims to test early treatment in babies born with HIV to see if the results in this case can be reproduced.

Most HIV-infected moms in the U.S. get AIDS medicines during pregnancy, which greatly cuts the chances they will pass the virus to their babies. But the Mississippi mom got no prenatal care and her HIV was discovered during labor. Doctors considered the baby to be at such high risk that they started the child on three powerful medicines 30 hours after birth, rather than waiting for a test to confirm infection as is usually done.

Within a month, the baby’s virus fell to undetectable levels. She remained on treatment until she was 18 months old when doctors lost contact with her. Ten months later when she returned, they could find no sign of infection even though the mom had stopped giving the child AIDS medicines.

Only one other person is thought to have been cured of HIV infection – a San Francisco man who had a bone marrow transplant in 2007 from a donor with natural resistance to HIV, and showed no sign of infection five years later.

In the Mississippi baby, “there’s no immune mechanism we can identify that would keep the virus in check” like that bone marrow donor, said another study author, Dr. Deborah Persaud of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, who helped investigate the case because she has researched treatment in children.

Dr. Peter Havens, pediatric HIV chief at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and a government adviser on HIV treatment guidelines, said the child may have an undiscovered genetic trait that helped her manage the virus.

“I’m just not convinced that her dramatic response would be replicable in a large population,” he said. It’s too soon to recommend treating other high-risk babies so aggressively without more study, he said.

In the upcoming study, doctors plan to give AIDS medicines for at least two years and watch for signs of remission before suspending treatment and seeing whether a remission results.

The Mississippi case “did open people’s eyes further” about a possible cure, Luzuriaga said. “We might be able to intervene early and spare children a lifetime of therapy. That is the potential impact of this case.”

On the Web…

AIDS information: HTTP://WWW.AIDSINFO.NIH.GOV

and HTTP://WWW3.NIAID.NIH.GOV/TOPICS/HIVAIDS/

Wisconsin scores C-minus in ‘State of Women’ analysis

Wisconsin, with a grade of C-minus, ranks No. 29 and in the bottom half of the states in a new study mapping “The State of Women in America.”

The report from the Center for American Progress deals with issues such as economic security, leadership and health care and looks at progress and setbacks in all 50 states.

On economic security, researchers looked at the earnings of women and men, a state’s minimum wage, poverty rates, paid family leave and sick leave laws, disability insurance laws and pre-K opportunities for children.

On leadership, the researchers looked at the numbers of women in public office and management positions.

In terms of health, researchers looked at recent legislation regarding reproductive care and limits on abortions, contraception policy, the numbers of uninsured women, Medicaid expansion policies, infant mortality rates, maternal mortality rates and the number of women for every ob/gyn in the state.

The survey rated Wisconsin an overall C-minus with a ranking of No. 29. In terms of health care, Wisconsin ranked No. 33 with a D-minus. Its economic ranking was 29 and a C-minus. Its leadership ranking was No. 28 and a C-minus.

In the overall ranking, Maryland scored best, followed by Hawaii, Vermont, California, Delaware, Connecticut, Colorado, New York, New Jersey and Washington to create the Top 10.

Louisiana came in at No. 50. The Bottom 10 included Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, South Dakota, Indiana, Georgia and Tennessee.

In a close up analysis, the researchers noted:

• In Vermont, women make on average close to 85 cents for every dollar a man makes. Women in Wyoming make 65 cents for every dollar a man earns.

• The wage gap in Wisconsin shows women, on average, making 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. African-American women in the state earn 65 cents and Hispanic women earn 53 cents for every dollar a man makes.

• Fifteen states have no women representatives in the U.S. House or Senate.

• Less than 10 percent of women in Vermont are uninsured, but 26 percent of women in Texas lack health care coverage.

• More than 22 percent of women in Louisiana live at the poverty level. The percentage of women living in poverty in Maryland is 11 percent.

• About 58 percent of those who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 in Wisconsin are women. The analysis estimates that 368,000 women would benefit.

“While women have come a long way over the past few decades, much remains to be done to ensure that all women can have a fair shot at success,” said Anna Chu, one of the authors of the report.

She said the report shows that “in many states, it is still difficult for women and their families to get ahead, instead of just getting by.”

The Center for American Progress, which published the study on Sept. 25, is a progressive group. Earlier this month, it partnered with American Women, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Service Employees International Union to launch “Fair Shot,” a campaign to promote policies that improve economic security, leadership opportunities and health care for women.