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Baby Isaiah’s Case Part of a National Trend Say Advocates for the Disabled

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LifeSiteNews.com

By Patrick B. Craine

EDMONTON, Alberta, January 20, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While Isaac and Rebecka May, the Canadian couple who are fighting for their new-born baby’s life, are awaiting a January 27th judgment on their petition for a 90-day injunction against their hospital's order to remove their baby Isaiah's ventilator, some advocates for the disabled are saying that what the May’s are experiencing is shockingly common in Canada.

According to Sam Sansalone, father of Katya Sansalone, who was born 8 years ago with full trisomy 13, in Canada “profoundly disabled kids are routinely – and intentionally – not treated with life-saving intervention.”  Sansalone serves as co-chair of the Advisory Committee of Family to Family Connections at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, a family-centered care initiative recently launched in Southern Alberta. 

He said that “the dynamic that we had to fight became very quickly and firmly entrenched as soon as we had a genetic diagnosis.”“The clear mandate, at least at that time, was that you don't save these disabled children's lives,” he continued.  “You allow them to die – even though the needed interventions are exactly the same as would routinely and unquestionably be given to quote-unquote normal children.”

Katya Sansalone was born with a cardiac condition that is associated with her chromosomal defect.  The Sansalones fought hard with their hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, to have them perform the cardiac surgery that Katya needed.

The hospital initially refused to do the surgery, he said, but “they didn't make it look that way.”“Initially they said we had a choice, and then they proceeded with trying to influence that choice by giving us false information about the range of outcomes,” he continued.

Sansalone attributed their success in part to the fact that his wife is a doctor, which helped the family to research Katya's condition. This research allowed them to be “not so easily fooled by this kind of misinformation.”

Sansalone said the hospital “actually tried to hide medical literature from me.”  He saw that on one occasion the neonatologist had a key study on a clipboard that actually dispelled myths about Katya's condition that the hospital had perpetuated, but the doctor held the study out as though it supported their position.  “When I tried to read it, the neonatologist doctor actually pulled it away from my view,” he said.

Sansalone believes their experience might have some parallels to what the Mays are now going through with the Stollery Children's Hospital.  “I hear that they were being denied ... regular access to the patient chart – reading it and seeing the imaging.”

“That is completely illegal, and it is entirely in the parents' right to have as much access as they need to become informed,” he said. “When you have that parental scrutiny of the chart, [the hospital staff's] behaviour, because it will be more scrutinized, will be in better form. ... Terrible things are done behind parents' backs.”

Sansalone pointed out the case of baby Annie Farlow, who also had trisomy 13, but died five years ago at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

In an September-October 2009 article for the prestigious Hastings Center Report, Annie's mother Barbara told the story of how she and her husband were misinformed and deceived by doctors who she says were not interested in giving Annie the care she needed to survive.

Annie was born especially healthy for her condition, but on her 80th day she suffered a respiratory crash.  Based on the advice of their pediatrician and hospital staff, the Farlows agreed to not have Annie intubated, and she died shortly thereafter.

Barbara writes about how she was suspicious about certain irregularities in the events leading up to Annie's death.  “Although I felt guilty, ashamed, and ungrateful to be so suspicious, I ordered Annie’s medical records to look at the events of her last hours,” she says.

“I was shocked by what we found.”

The intensive care specialist, she discovered, had ordered that Annie not be resuscitated hours before they had consented.  Further, they had not been informed that even from the fifth day of her life, there were signs that Annie's condition was deteriorating.  Additionally, a pulmonologist had ordered tests for a dangerous condition, which were cancelled.

“To this day, it is unclear to us whether our daughter’s death was preventable or inevitable,” she wrote.  “In either case, Annie had suffered terribly and unnecessarily as she slowly asphyxiated to death. The lack of transparency in the treatment plan ensured that she received neither appropriate lifesaving care nor effective palliation.”

CTV Edmonton reported yesterday on another similar case to Baby Isaiah's, in which the parents were only successful in saving their baby after a fight with medical staff.

Turner Kersey was born three years ago, 14 weeks prematurely, with severe brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during birth.  Doctors told his family that he would be vegetative for the rest of his life, and pressured them to take him off life support.

"It was a large fight on our part in order to have our voices heard," said Brandy Kersey, Turner's mother.  They said "that we should take him off life support ... that we should let life take its course.”

The Kerseys were successful in obtaining the necessary surgery for Turner, and now, says Brandy, "He's doing everything they said he wouldn't. He walks, he talks, he dances, he sings, he counts to 20."

Dr. Paul Byrne, a neonatologist with nearly fifty years of experience, who has been advising Isaac and Rebecka, told LifeSiteNews yesterday how Stollery Children's Hospital has refused to give baby Isaiah appropriate and standard care.

Besides putting Isaiah on a ventilator, he said the doctors have not conducted blood tests or blood counts, and that the hospital has refused to do a tracheotomy, which would be standard in Isaiah's case, despite Isaac and Rebecka's pleading.

“I have a hard time believing how all of this is going on, but on the other hand, I don't have [a] hard time ... in the sense that these things are going on much more commonly than anybody ever realizes,” he said.

Mark Pickup, an advocate for disability issues who has been involved in the Mays' case, urged the hospital to respect the parents' desire to preserve Isaiah's life.

“We must always make decisions that default toward life,” he said.  “The parents are not in favour of the hospital's actions here, and I would urge the hospital to not make that decision to remove the respirator.  Allow other physicians to take a look at this case.  There may be a way out that's life-affirming, not life-denying.”


See the Facebook group in support of Baby Isaiah: Prayers for Baby Isaiah James here.

See the Facebook group seeking justice for Annie Farlow: Justice for Annie here.

Contact Information:

Stollery Children's Hospital
8440 112 Street Northwest
Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7
General Phone Line: (780) 407-8822

Alberta Health Services - Complaints
Mail Slot 57
11111 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 0L4
Toll-free: 1-877-753-2170
Telephone: 780-342-8080
Fax: 1-877-871-4340

Dr. Ernest Z. Phillipos, Director of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Stollery Children's Hospital
Phone: 780-407-1305
Fax: 780-407-3030
E-mail: ernest.phillipos@albertahealthservices.ca

Gene Zwozdesky, Alberta Minister of Health
208 Legislature Building
10800 - 97 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6
Phone: 780 427-3665
Fax: 780 415-0961
E-mail: health.minister@gov.ab.ca

Office of Premier Ed Stelmach
Room 307, Legislature Building
10800 - 97th Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2B6
Phone: (780) 427 2251
Fax: (780) 427 1349
E-mail: premier@gov.ab.ca


See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Young Canadian Parents Fighting Hospital to Save Their Baby's Life
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/jan/10011910.html

Annie's Story: The Tragic Death of a Girl with Trisomy 13 - PART 1
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08061911.html

Parents Lose Malpractice Suit Against Toronto Sick Children's Hospital Over Baby Daughter's Death
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/nov/09113009.html

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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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