I came across this distressing story a few months ago, but was unsure how best to deal with it so I filed it away in my writing to-do list. I came across it tonight as I was looking through that list. I've skipped over it numerous times before, but tonight I couldn't ignore it one more time.
You see, I was utterly horrified to learn that Canadian "doctors", and I use the term loosely for reasons you'll understand in a moment, were justifying the murder of infants.
Actually, disgusted is more like it.
The news report is dated October 7, 2010, dateline: Montreal -- and is based on the presentation of Dr. Hal Siden at the 18th International Congress on Palliative Care.
The news report starts off with:
Neonatal survival after withdrawal of artificial hydration and nutrition can last up to 26 days, according to a case series presented here at the 18th International Congress on Palliative Care.
You can see why I was horrified. These so-called doctors were actually studying how long it would take for a baby to die once you stop feeding it and giving it water.
Is this Canada or some horrible flashback to the Nazi human experiments during the Second World War?
No, this is actually Canada in the 21st century.
"These babies live much, much longer than anybody expects. I think that neonatologists and nurses and palliative care clinicians need to be alerted to this," he said.
"The time between withdrawal of feeding and end of life is something that is not predictable, and you need to be cautioned very strongly about that if you are going to do this work."
I never realized we were a nation that allowed the intentional murder of children outside of the womb. Sadly, I do now.
The infants were transferred to the hospice from neonatal intensive care after their families had received an average of 3 consultations with the hospice team, reported Kerry Keats, MSW, who is Dr. Siden's colleague at the hospice, and a coinvestigator and copresenter.
I'm unsure what it takes to talk parents into allowing their child to be left without food and water until he or she dies. According to the news story, the five children studied had serious health issues. My guess, although the story doesn't make it clear, is that the children had little "quality of life" expectancy, which is presumably why these "doctors" were talking the parents into killing their own children.
Call me old-fashioned if you must. I believe childredn are to be loved, cared for and nurtured, no matter what condition they may be in.
In what must be a horrific time for parents as they watch their child die right before their eyes, they wanted everything possible done so that the dying infants would not appear to be suffering in any way.
"Families were absolutely clear about that each time," added Dr. Siden. "They wanted to see absolutely no signs of discomfort. Babies cry, that's normal, but this was not acceptable, so we were using sedatives to really dampen that out."
That they ARE suffering is obvious, isn't it? I mean they're being intentionally starved to death in a hospital for crying out loud!
I fear we were a much more compassionate and caring people a hundred years ago. Somewhere in the last century we appear to have left our humanity behind.
For the full and horrifying story, point your web browser to medscape.com's news story "Prolonged Survival Frequent After Withdrawal of Neonatal Nutrition and Hydration".
I haven't even quoted the really gross parts of what Dr. Sidon said. I'll leave that for you to read yourself, if you've got the stomach for it.