At first the parents wanted everything done for the baby, including mechanical ventilation if necessary. When an echocardiogram showed the baby had serious heart defects that required major surgery, they wanted to go ahead with the surgery. The pediatric cardiologist and I each had long conversations with the parents, making sure they understood the poor prognosis of this child, even with surgery, and gently suggesting that maybe they didn't want to put the child through it.
They still wanted the surgery, so we transferred the baby to a center that does open heart surgery on newborns. After transfer and discussion with more physicians, they decided not to have the surgery. After hospice services were arranged, they took their baby home. Some people wondered who it was that finally talked them out of the surgery, but I don't think it's that. I think it just takes time for a family to come to the awful but appropriate decision to let their baby die.
I also have some follow up on a mostly unrelated matter, that of my traffic ticket. I went to court on the assigned day, and the officer said he would reduce the infraction from illegal lane usage to some lesser charge, so I wouldn't get any points on my record. The fine, though, remained the same, 130 big ones. I paid the fine and got out of there.
When baseball pitcher Cory Lidle died in a plane crash recently, I heard someone comment on TV that it put the Yankees' loss to the Tigers in the division playoffs in perspective. Similarly, the trisomy 18 baby puts my traffic ticket into perspective. The ticket is an irritation but just a small blip on the radar screen of life. Having a baby with trisomy 18, though, changes your entire view.