Thursday, September 10, 2009

Headlines 9/10/09

=Text of President Obama's address to Congress on health care reform
I'd love to go through this line by line, but the short version is: nothing new, and nothing worth much.

=Recession may be over
Great, so let's cancel the unspent stimulus -- which is the vast majority of it.

=Premature baby 'left to die' by doctors after mother gives birth just two days before 22-week care limit
"Doctors told me it was against the rules to save my premature baby."

This is one reason our infant mortality rates are higher. We would count this baby as an infant mortality; Europe doesn't.

=Daughter claims father wrongly placed on controversial NHS end of life scheme
The story I brought you a few days ago revisited in the worst way. But this is bound to happen in the name of saving money.


Kate said...

Hi, I popped over here from Jesus Creed. I just wanted to point out, in relationship to the article on prematurity, that the daily Mail is not what could be considered a reliable source of information. Whoever wrote this article did not have a good understanding of the facts. The US baby (Amillia Taylor)they quote as surviving at 21 weeks and 6 days was actually an IVF conception, and the gestation was therefore measured from the time of conception, rather than the date of the last menstrual period (LMP), as used for most pregnancies, ie by the normal way of counting, this baby was 23 weeks and six days. There was a baby born in Canada at 21 weeks and 5 days that survived (James Elgin Gill), but the baby in the article you quote was 21 weeks and 4 days- it would have been the first ever (worldwide) to survive if resuscitation had been successfully attempted. ie extremely unlikely.

With respect to your contention that these births are only registered in the US, this is not correct. All live births are registered in the UK, at any gestation. Only stillbirths are not registered if before 24 weeks.

"In the United Kingdom, all live births must be registered, together with fetal deaths (after 24 weeks). The latter are registered as stillbirths (England & Wales Section 41 of Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953, amended by the Stillbirths (Definition) Act 1992). " This is in accordance with the World Health Organisation ICD109 definition of "live birth". I do not know if the rest of Europe accepts this definition.

It is interesting to see how the press report other countries' guidelines- when reporting the "miracle" of Amillia Taylor's survival, the Guardian claimed that the mother had to decieve doctors about the duration of pregnancy as US doctors would not attempt to resuscitate a baby of under 23 weeks because "According to the American Association of Pediatrics, babies born at less than 23 weeks are not considered "viable"" So they are making the saim claims about US care as you make about UK!

Thanks for an interesting blog,


ChrisB said...


This isn't the first time I've heard the claim that the US tracks very premature births differently than other developed countries, but I don't know where that claim really comes from. I'm going to have to see if I can track that down.

Thanks for dropping by.

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