August 5, 2005

Sheesh. Brain-Dead Cancer Mom Gives Birth At 24 Wks

Man, this is just gut-wrenchingly sad, with just a sliver of happiness. A 26-year-old Arlington, Va. woman lost consciousness early in her pregnancy--tumor. Brain-dead. Cancer, racing through her body. Her husband and doctors decide to try to keep her heart and lungs going long enough for the fetus to reach viability. At 24 weeks, they delivered the girl by C-section.

The dad's been on Larry King, apparently, pleading for money because his wife's company's insurance policy doesn't cover expenses after she's "dead."

[update: DT reader Mark adds: "If you would like more information on this story or to help the family financially, here is the link to the website:"]">Brain-Dead Va. Woman Gives Birth [wapo, via laidoffdad]


I understand that everyone's looking to "get paid" these days, but come on!! Can't the hospital find it in the little black stone in the middle of it's chest called a heart to just wave the bill?

They have costs, too, and we decided in this country that the corporate model is the one we need to follow for everything, even schools and hospitals. He made the choice to keep her "alive," he should have to deal with it, the upsides and downsides.

My main question is that it sounds to me as if he devoted all his time to his wife and fetus, and where did that leave the two-year-old, who effectively lost both his mother and father?

Because so many things in this country are corporate, there is more than enough money to save the life of a person. Yes, he did decide to keep his wife alive to save his unborn child. He also made this decision knowing in his heart that this is what his wife would have wanted. She was very dedicated to having this child, and it is not the anyone's fault that cancer took this woman. People say "fetus" when its convenient for them. It's the person (s) who abort their "fetuses" when pregnancy is an inconvenience who will later in life, or perhaps who earlier, turn around and say, "We're having a baby!!!" not fetus or embryo. Hypocrites. How can you put a price on someone's life? Especially your spouse & child??? If you wouldn't have done the same yourself, I question your ability to be a loving daddy or loving anything for that matter. . .jeez.

From the way the story reads, the extended family rallied around the couple. I imagine that includes taking care of the other kid, too, so that's the least of their challenges.

It's clear, if extremely uncommon, what the situation was here, and I think that's something you'll find wide agreement on, without making polarizing judgments about someone's humanity.

If the Torres's are able to get help via donationa and Larry King, that's a relief. But it's also an unsustainable/unscalable model for dealing with catastrophic medical emergencies. There are plenty of families who face financial ruin over medical costs whose situations don't generate international media attention. Just an under-acknowledged result of the corporate model "we decided."

Something like this happened here in Modesto, but it never reached the national media. Of course the parents were working class and Hispanic. Those sort of things matter to the press.

VA Hospital Center is where I gave birth. I found the staff (especially the baby nurses) to be warm, professional and caring. Little girl Torres is in good hands.

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