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

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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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]

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: [email protected]


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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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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