British Doctors Let Premature Baby Born at 22 Weeks Die, NHS Blamed for Death

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 9, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Doctors Let Premature Baby Born at 22 Weeks Die, NHS Blamed for Death

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 9
, 2009

London, England ( — British doctors are coming under fire for letting an unborn child born just before 22 weeks of pregnancy die. The National health Service, the government-run health system that Congress may replicate in legislation in the United States, is blamed for guidelines disallowing treatment.

Sarah Capewell begged physicians to save the life of her tiny son, whom she planned to name Jayden, but they said national guidelines preventing treatment on newborns born so early prevented them from caring for him.

Capewell told the London Daily Mail newspaper that doctors refused to see her son, who lived almost two hours on his own without any medical support before dying.

She said Jayden (pictured above right) was breathing on his own without any medical assistance and was moving his arms and legs, but medical staff refused to transfer him to a neonatal intensive care unit.

The newspaper indicated Capewell said medical staff told her they would have been able to treat her son had he been born two days later.

The Nuffield Council drew up the guidelines that are not mandatory but followed closely by doctors and medical workers. The guidelines are based on the belief that unborn children born so early in pregnancy have very little chance of surviving and that any medical care and treatment is futile and a waste of money and resources.

"When he was born, he put out his arms and legs and pushed himself over," she told the newspaper. "I kept asking for the doctors but the midwife said, "They won’t come and help, sweetie. Make the best of the time you have with him.’"

Doctors told Capewell to treat the birth as a miscarriage and she was forced to endure having a chaplain tell her about funerals and bereavement even as she tried to get medical care for her baby.

The mother, who has one daughter but also five miscarriages and was hoping for the baby, told the Daily Mail, "I was sitting there, reading this leaflet about planning a funeral and thinking, this is my baby, he isn’t even born yet, let alone dead."

After learning that an unborn child had survived at an earlier stage of pregnancy in the United States and that the baby received stellar medical care, Capewell is launching a new bid to change the laws and guidelines in England.

”I could not believe that one little girl, Amillia Taylor, is perfectly healthy after being born in Florida in 2006 at 21 weeks and six days," she said. "Thousands of women have experienced this. The doctors say the babies won’t survive but how do they know if they are not giving them a chance?"

Labour MP Tony Wright is reportedly backing her bid to change the laws and guidelines.

Jill Stanek, a pro-life nurse in the U.S. who exposed the practice of live-birth abortions — where a hospital let babies die who had purposefully been born prematurely or survived failed abortions — has been closely following the case.

She blamed the national government-run health care system for Jayden’s death.

"I wondered if Britain’s nationalized healthcare program played a part in this baby’s death because of apparent rules cited in the article to withhold treatment of pregnant mothers in premature labor as well as very premature babies," she writes.

She points out how the medical guidelines for National Health Service hospitals state that babies should not be given intensive care if they are born at less than 23 weeks.

She says the Daily Mail indicated "The guidance… is not compulsory but advises doctors that medical intervention for very premature children is not in the best interests of the baby, and is not "standard practice."

"James Paget Hospital, where Sarah labored and where Jayden was born, is an NHS hospital," Stanek indicates. "This is a glaring example of the threat of nationalized healthcare to provide poor – or no – care to mothers in premature labor and very premature babies."

As is normally the case, Stanek says this incident is just one example of something that happens too frequently in the UK, U.S. and elsewhere.

"The following sorts of stories could and should be published by the mainstream media every day in America, because very young preemies are being shelved to die every day in America without being assessed for viability. The line is arbitrarily drawn," she said.

"But humanizing very young preemies would be anathema to the abortion industry. And so we latch on to honesty from across the pond," she said.

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