CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

February 16, 2009

FIRST, DO NO HARM…THE SULEMAN OCTUPLET CASE


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

FIRST, DO NO HARM…THE SULEMAN OCTUPLET CASE

     Much controversy surrounds the birth of octuplets born to Nadya Suleman on January 26, 2009.
     Suleman is a single mother of six children under the age of seven, that she suffered a work-related back injury, and that she receives food stamps are undisputable facts. Suleman and her parents relate conflicting stories about who cares for her children, whether her disability checks paid for her plastic surgery, whether she received government assistance (beyond the food stamps) to financially care for her children, whether her parents were financially compensated for their part in the children’s care, and whether she should have increased her family size. These issues are being debated in both private and media sectors.
     A doctor inseminated Nadya Suleman with six embryos, giving her hope for a seventh, or perhaps a seventh and eighth child. He may be brought up on charges for this action. What I dare to do, based on reports emanating from the media but recognizing that I am not privy to all the facts, is to evaluate the doctor’s actions against the template of the first part of the Hippocratic Oath: First do no harm…
      I do not intend to debate the issue on the fact that the result of the doctor’s agreement to inseminate Suleman with six embryos (left over from her previous inseminations) was a set of octuplets. The normal expectation, as was the result of Suleman’s other inseminations, was one baby—or perhaps twins. Neither Suleman nor the doctor expected that the result would be eight babies, all still surviving.
     However, I will offer my debate on whether or not it was reasonable for the doctor to agree to enable Suleman to take extraordinary measures to increase a family that reports reveal she already could not, or did not, care for.
     Did the doctor “do harm” to Suleman, to Suleman’s first six children, to Suleman’s octuplets (or, presumably, the single/double birth that was expected), to society, to the government? The spokeswoman did not elaborate on the nature of the potential violations.
     HARM TO SULEMAN
     First, did the physician do any harm to Suleman? Would the insemination put Suleman at risk if fewer embryos were implanted? Did the insemination of six embryos put her at additional physical risk?
     Suleman, 33 years old, has a back injury, which she said left her in “near-constant pain and helped end her marriage.” She also experienced at least two ectopic pregnancies (a dangerous condition in which a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus). She had already had five pregnancies, each through artificial insemination. These pregnancies produced six children, now ages two to seven years old.
     Other physicians indicate that, for a woman her age, there is a policy of implanting no more than three embryos. Considering Suleman’s “physical condition,” should this policy have been adhered to, eliminating the risk of a high-numbered multiple birth?  Would not even an additional single birth also put Suleman at medical risk?
     A Medical Board of California spokeswoman said that it was investigating the doctor — who has not been identified — to see if there was a “violation of the standard of care.”
     In addition, the overwhelming nature of filling the needs of eight tiny infants and six other children under seven years old may also prove harmful to Suleman, especially if she has minimum help.
     HARM TO THE SIX CHILDREN
     Suleman already had six children, three with such special needs that they are on SSI. “That was always a dream of mine, to have a large family, a huge family,” she said. “I just longed for certain connections and attachments with another person that … I really lacked, I believe, growing up.” Her family would make up for the isolation she felt as an only child.
     Some women handle multiple children better than other families do. However, six children under age seven is already a handful, even for the most competent parent. Special needs children are more demanding. To fulfill their needs, and attend college classes, is pretty challenging. Little income adds to the challenge. Adding pregnancies and additional children increases that challenge even more.
     Children cannot “make up” for an adult’s feeling of isolation, connection and attachment. Parents are there to provide for the needs of the children. Putting children in the “adult” role of providing for the parents need (in this case, emotional) places an unreasonable hardship on them.
     The needs of eight more siblings, all tiny infants to start, will most likely reduce Suleman’s ability to care for the older children, some of which have not yet passed through toddlership. Would not even one additional child stretched her limit beyond capability? Thus, there is a likelihood that all children will be harmed, emotionally if not physically, due to the arrival of the octuplets, due to Suleman’s physician’s decision to inseminate Suleman with six embryos. Harm to the six existing children.
     HARM TO THE OCTUPLETS
     Managing the needs of eight tiny newborns is a daunting task, and if some of these children turn out to be eligible for SSI, then the difficulty of the task will multiply. Will there be enough outside help, and outside offerings of provisions, to care for these babies in a healthy manner, or will some of them become neglected? Thus, the risk of harm to these infants, the result of Suleman’s decision to inseminate Suleman with six embryos, is present. In fact, the risk of harm was also there with the addition of one more child. Harm to the octuplets children.
     HARM TO SULEMAN’S PARENTS
     Suleman’s parents have been stretched to the limit with helping her care for the six children she already has. Has her father made a decision to go to Iraq to earn money to pay for the babies and other children? Is Suleman’s mother capable of helping, physically and emotionally, with fourteen children, all under seven years old? Will the family split end up completed due to the physician’s decision to inseminate Suleman with six embryos? Will, as some persons note, his decision help drive her parents to “an early grave?” In fact, would not even one additional child have moved the situation to gravity? Harm to the parents.
     HARM TO THE SOCIETY
     Society is composed of the “deadbeats” and the responsible. How much taxpayer monies will be needed to support a family this size, based on the fact that the physician chose to inseminate Suleman with six embryos? Would not have adding only one more child also stretched society’s responsibility to this family? How many services will these children require from human service organizations, and at whose cost? Does Suleman, unemployed and now likely unable to work due to the demands of her children, have sufficient funds to pay her high bills (medical bills alone will be astronomical) and support fourteen children?
     Suleman has been receiving, monthly, $490 a month in food stamps and up to $2,379 in Social Security disability payments for three of her children. (Her disability award for her back injury, which exceeded $165,000, was discontinued last year.)
     One source reported from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that in 2006 the average cost for a premature baby’s hospital stay in California was $164,273. Eight times that equals $1.3 million. 
     Certainly, society, with its already broken financial resources, will pick up much of the tab resulting from the physician’s decision to inseminate Suleman with six embryos, or even one. Harm to society.
     HARM TO THE GOVERNMENT
     The human service segment of the government is overloaded, overextended, overburdened, unable to provide the care already needed. The physician used extreme measures to add to this problem, which would have held true even with one more child. Will any—or all—of these children enter the foster care system? Will they need excessive services? How will they be provided for with an already broken system? Harm done.
     It is my contention that the physician behaved irresponsibly.
     What do you think? Comments will be appreciated.

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

WRITER’S CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS, COMPETITIONS & EVENTS: Feb. 5, 2009

LAUREL HIGHLANDS

ESCAPING THE DEVIL’S GRIP

ROSES ARE RED: Two Original Versions

CANDIED VIOLETS: Remembering My Mother on Her Birthday

THOSE WHO DO EVIL HAVE NOT SEEN GOD: A Devotion on Child Abuse

CHARACTERISTICS OF ABUSIVE FAMILIES

HOW TO HARVEST & STORE ICE (Ice Harvesting)

SHOULD INFORMATION ON AN ALLEGED CHILD ABUSER BE PUBLICIZED?

DOES EXAGGERATING THE TRUTH CREATE GOOD STORIES?

WHAT RIGHTS DO CATS HAVE, I ASK

SHOULD THIS HOUSE HAVE SOLD AT A TAX SALE?

SADIE

IS THIS “CHEERS?”

SITE LINKS:

www.beanerywriters.wordpress.com/

www.carolyncholland.wordpress.com

http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyncholland/2810322370/    Ligonier Calendar front

www.laurelmountainboro.wordpress.com

www.LVWonline.org

www.ellenspain.com

http://www.barbarapurbaugh.com

www.ligonierliving.blogspot.com

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2 Comments »

  1. 妊娠の初期症状にはどんな兆候があるでしょうか?妊娠の初期症状には身体にさまざまな変化(兆候)が起こります。もし妊娠かな?と兆候や初期症状を感じたら、ぜひこのホームページを参考にしてください。妊娠は新たな命が身体に宿る神秘的なことなのです。安全で安心な妊娠検査薬などもありますので妊娠の初期症状(兆候)はすぐに見分けることが可能です。妊娠,兆候,初期,症状,妊婦,出産,マタニティ,検査,薬,生理,出血,基礎,体温,子宮,後期,中絶,体重,セックス,腹痛,胎児,つわり,時期,双子,便秘,痛,性別,腰痛,風邪,食事,ダイエット,日記,ホルモン

    Comment by 妊娠の初期症状(兆候)について — February 16, 2009 @ 6:41 am | Reply

  2. Can someone translate the above comment??? Thanks! Carolyn

    Comment by carolyncholland — February 16, 2009 @ 6:58 am | Reply


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