Federal Baby Doll Rule

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The federal ”Baby Doe” rule was the first effort made by the US government to get involved in the treatment options for newborns born with serious congenital defects. The case started in 1982 in Bloomington, Indiana in concerns to an infant baby who went by the name of Doe. The topic of impaired infants born with severe congenital defects gained national attention in April of 1982 when baby Doe was born. Baby Doe was born with Down Syndrome a genetic condition that delays child development and he was also born with an abnormal assembly of the trachea and esophagus. Baby Doe needed immediate surgery to mend the birth defects. With the guidance of their physician, Baby Does’ parents chose to withhold medical care and surgery due to the conclusion still leaving the child with severe retardation. “Officials at the hospital had the Indiana Juvenile Courts appoint a guardian to determine whether or not to perform the surgery. The court finally ruled in favor of the parents and upheld their right to informed medical decision” (Resnik, 2011). Because of the decision made to withhold surgery and medical care, Baby Doe died five days later of dehydration and pneumonia. The law was signed by President Ronald Regan on October 9th 1984 after a long legal battle. The law was set to aid in the child abuse prevention and treatment act. Ever since the law was signed, the “Baby Doe” rules have had a large impact on parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children. “Under the Baby Doe regulations of 1984, withholding neonatal intensive care on the basis of handicap or, in the case of extremely premature infants, increased risk of handicap was deemed to be discrimination and a violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973” (Tyson, 2013). ... ... middle of paper ... ...he three exception categories, the parents cannot express their concerns. If the child doesn’t fit into one of the three categories the parents don’t have any other choices but to go forward with treatment. Some parents struggle knowing they will have to care for a disabled child for the rest of their lives and some parents are not prepared to take on that role. I don’t feel that withholding care is the answer, but I also don’t believe that forcing the parents to take on such a big responsibility is the answer either. People get put into situations that they are not prepared and they don’t care for the child like they should. In the end the child is the one who suffers. This subject will always be controversial with the world that we live in today. I am thankful for the Federal “Baby Doe”rules and I am sure a lot of newborns lives have been spared because of it.

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