A Tennessee hospital is facing a possible emergency injunction after Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed legal papers today to save the life of nine-month-old Gabriel Palmer. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says it may abandon his medical care, resulting in the child’s death.
Baby Gabriel was born prematurely with a genetic abnormality, club foot, and narrow airway, but he flourished when he went home from the hospital in June.
There, he grew, played, and received physical therapy while going to regular doctor visits. He was fed through a tube and received some oxygen and medications.
On an October weekend, when the baby’s regular doctors were unavailable, Catherine Palmer took her son to the ETCH emergency room because of breathing problems. After interventions by the medical staff, the baby went into shock, developed pulmonary vascular disease, and was placed on a respirator.
ETCH recently began giving up on Baby Gabriel’s care, and on Nov. 13, the head of ETCH’s PICU, Dr. Kevin Brinkman, told Palmer that the hospital was going to stop feeding him milk and giving him his medications, as well as disconnect his respirator, because the staff considered his care “futile.”
Brinkman said a formal “ethics panel” meeting today would determine whether to stop treating Baby Gabriel, but he noted that the decision was already a foregone conclusion.
Ethics panel members have already said they will decide to cease the baby’s care despite his mother’s objections. ETCH’s policies declare that treatment can be withdrawn over the family’s objections as soon as the ethics panel makes its decision.
After doctors decided that Baby Gabriel was not worth treating, ETCH started discriminating against him by denying his basic care. Staff stopped bathing him, ceased applying cream to alleviate his chapped skin, reduced his diaper changes, and have not allowed his physical therapy.
ETCH doctors have also discouraged Palmer’s attempts to have her son transferred to other medical facilities where he could receive treatment.
Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed an emergency motion in court this afternoon to save Gabriel’s life.
“A disability should not be a death sentence. No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is not worth saving,” ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman told LifeNews.com.
“Doctors at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital need to do the right thing and make sure Baby Gabriel gets the treatment he needs to live. He is loved by his mother, is in stable condition, and could live for a long time. The hospital’s treatment–or lack thereof–of this helpless little boy is simply inhuman,” he said.
Bowman indicated the hospital did not change course after a letter sent Friday by an ADF-cooperating attorney on behalf of Catherine Palmer which urged hospital officials to continue his medical treatment.
Hospital staff told Catherine Palmer that they will no longer provide medical care for her baby despite her objections.
Although the baby is on a respirator and medications to treat pulmonary vascular problems, he is stable and a doctor says he could live for a long time.
An ETCH doctor determined he could live “a long while.”
ADF indicates Gabriel is alert, active, and responsive when not sedated. In recent days while awake, he spent time kicking his feet, tried to play with his stuffed animals, listened to his mother and grandmother, and responded to his favorite music.
ADF filed the motion for restraining order and injunction in Palmer v. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Association with the Chancery Court for Knox County, which has set a hearing before Chancellor Darrel Fansler for later this afternoon.
ADF-allied attorney John Threadgill of Knoxville is serving as local counsel in the lawsuit. (Source)
I see that the philosophy of fetal euthanasia that is being practiced at St. Joseph’s hospital in London Ontario is starting to spread.
By the way, has anyone heard anything about any more infant victims of euthanasia at St. Joseph’s hospital? Has there been a decision about this practice yet from our “ecclesiastical authorities”?
I guess there are more important things to do…like shuffle paper and make justifications for the practice.