Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ante-natal scans are fallible

Briefing: there is a regular stream of such stories; this is representative. There is more commentary from Fr Tim Finnigan.

From CFNews: Becky Weatherall and her partner Kriss Kramer where told by their doctors that their son would be born deaf and blind and would probably survive only for a couple of hours. Little Brandon Kramer was diagnosed in utero with rhomboencephalosynapsis - a condition in which the brain fuses together rather than being in two halves - as well as hydrocephalus - water on the brain. Tests conducted twice a month indicated the condition was worsening and Becky was advised to abort her pregnancy up to just weeks before the birth. The couple ignored the doctors' recommendation and Brandon was born healthy on October 1 last year.

A report in the Daily Mail said the Fetal Medicine Unit at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff was ordered to review the case to determine whether Brandon had the condition and recovered from it, or whether data from the numerous ultrasound scans had been misread by hospital staff. The couple does not intend to sue the hospital for compensation but does want the situation to be made know as a warning to other parents. 'Perhaps doctors shouldn't put so much confidence in scans,' Becky said in the Daily Mail report. 'One of the older doctors we spoke to said a scan is like a fuzzy image of a snowstorm - it cannot be relied upon - and he turned out to be right.' 'I feel incredibly guilty thinking that I could have killed him - and then I find myself wondering how many other babies are killed who would have turned out to be completely healthy.'

'We had prepared to spend Christmas without him - we thought we'd be planning a funeral. Instead, it was the best Christmas present ever and now we're having a christening.' Brandon's father Kriss said, 'We are not there to blame anyone but we want to thank them for the help and advice they gave us. They went over the MRI [scanner] results with us. They haven't given us any explanation.' 'It was a mistake, but all that is put to the side now and we are trying to forget about it because Brandon is normal.'

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen