Doctors left a premature baby to die because he was born two days too early, his devastated mother claimed yesterday. Sarah Capewell begged them to save her tiny son, who was born just 21 weeks and five days into her pregnancy – almost four months early. They ignored her pleas and allegedly told her they were following national guidelines that babies born before 22 weeks should not be given medical treatment. Miss Capewell, 23, said doctors refused to even see her son Jayden, who lived for almost two hours without any medical support. She said he was breathing unaided, had a strong heartbeat and was even moving his arms and legs, but medics refused to admit him to a special care baby unit.
If that is true, it is a profound abandonment. Moreover, it illustrates the consequences of treating individuals as mere category members for treatment decisions. For example, in the UK, an older person will be denied a hip replacement based on age, regardless of whether the surgery would benefit the patient and restore the ability to live a vital life.
I am terrified at running afoul of a system that encourages such barbarity. No wonder the NHS is having problems with abusive and rude personnel. You can’t legislate rationing that allows tragedies like this and keep your compassion intact.