A Prayer For Baby Gabriel Is A Prayer For Us All

Posted on November 23, 2009. Filed under: General Info, Soapbox | Tags: , , , , , , , |

When I was born, more than a few decades ago, I was exactly two months early. My twin brother and I were given no hope to live. My brother weighed 2lbs 7oz at birth. I weighed 1lb 14oz. We were born at what was a very small community hospital which they called a “clinic”, with none of today’s modern equipment. By the hand of God, our doctor, the nurses and prayers of my parents, did we both survive.
Today a friend forwarded me a news story hitting the wire. It struck a chord.
At a Tennessee hospital, nine month old  Gabriel  Palmer’s  life was hanging in the balance after an emergency appeal by a group called the Alliance Defense Fund. The press realease said a lawsuit had been filed after East Tennessee Children’s Hospital officials made the decision to abandon care for the baby, despite his family’s wishes to continue.
Baby Gabriel was born prematurely with a genetic abnormality, a club foot, and a narrow airway, but was said to flourish after being allowed to come home from the hospital in June. At home, he was fed through a tube and received some oxygen and medications, according to the press release. One weekend in October, when the baby’s regular doctors were unavailable, his mother took Gabriel to the ETCH emergency room complaining of breathing difficulties. At one point the baby went into shock, developed pulmonary vascular disease, and was placed on a respirator.
Today, Baby Gabriel is in stable condition, alert, active and responsive. His doctor has determined Gabriel could live “a long while”.  The family reports that in recent days, while not sedated, he “spent time kicking his feet, tried to play with his stuffed animals, listened to the voices of his mother and grandmother and responded to his favorite music” , as evidenced by the new video shown here:  
The press release goes on to say ETCH recently began to give up on Baby Gabriel, when on November 13th, the head of ETCH PICU, Dr. Kevin Brinkman, told Mrs. Palmer they would stop feeding him milk, stop giving him his meds, and disconnect his respirator. Staff considered his care “futile”, the press release continues. Brinkman went on to say the decision was a foregone conclusion but an “Ethics Panel” would meet the following Monday to make the final decision. He then said they have made their decision with no bearing as to the family’s wishes.
The family reports that after that conversation, the hospital stopped routine care of Baby Gabriel, including bathing, moisturizing, cut back on diaper changes, disallowed his physical therapy and have gone so far as to attempt to discourage the family from transferring the baby to another hospital.
ADF filed a restraining order and injunction with Chancery Court for Knox County.
We will continue to pray for Baby Gabriel and for his family. You may call the hospital Community Relations Office at 865-541-8165 to let them know your stance on this matter. Call the Senate while you are at it. Don’t delay.
Unfortunately, it seems today, with all the blessings of high tech medical equipment and persons skilled enough to use it, life has far less meaning than it has had in the past. The health care bill being debated in the Senate will make decisions like this commonplace. Just as it is calling for a reduction in mammograms and pap smears and limiting treatment for the elderly, it too, will limit care to the less perfect born among us. 
How is that just? Who will we throw away? 
The true cost of life is not totaled in the hospital bill, but rather in the promise of the life itself.

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One Response to “A Prayer For Baby Gabriel Is A Prayer For Us All”

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Been reading up on this story, wondering whatever happened to Baby Gabriel after the hospital changed it’s mind, wondering if you maybe knew or could find out?

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