What do you think? Wrong twin Aborted in Australian mix-up! A women how has 32 weeks pregnant with twins agreed to have one twin aborted after doctors found one had a significant heart condition!

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Mary - posted on 11/27/2011

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Hope, I agree, there is no "good" outcome in scenario such as your sister's, or this couple's. While I personally have never been there, as an L&D nurse, I have cared for more than few families who knew in advance that the baby they were delivering was going to die shortly after birth. I would never judge a mother who opted to terminate prematurely rather than live though the anguish of slowly watching and waiting for your baby to die.

However, as others have pointed out, there are some serious gaps in this story that, from my professional perspective, make this whole thing questionable. Yes, there are things that are either missed, or (more likely) not apparent or unable to be diagnosed until later in pregnancy of after birth. It's even possible that this woman had no prenatal care or diagnostics until after viability. Whatever the reason for the late gestational age at which this was addressed, it makes absolutely no sense to me that they would attempt to abort this "sick" twin....and thereby jeopardize the safety of the other. Any type of invasive procedure puts the entire pregnancy at risk for preterm delivery; unless there was something about the one twin that was seriously affecting the "normal" one, there is absolutely no medical justification for attempting this. Although it is very difficult to tell parents that they will have one healthy, and one seriously ill twin, I just cannot fathom that they would offer to try and terminate one at this late gestational age. Conventional wisdom dictates that the only reasonable course of action here would have been to counsel the parents about the severity of the sick baby's prognosis, and discuss the pros and cons of heroic measures or treatments options (including just palliative measures) after birth.

Yeah, there is just a lot about this story that just doesn't add up.

Jodi - posted on 11/26/2011

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I think this is incredibly sad. Not having been in that situation itself, I am not sure what choice I would have made. I think it is all good to sit here and say "I would never have made the choice she made and risked the other twin" (which, BTW, was my very first instinct), but we really don't have the information she had in order to make that decision. Maybe the baby was suffering greatly. That might prompt me to make that decision.



If you had asked me a month ago, I may have been more likely to jump on the bandwagon of very little sympathy. But my cousin just recently had to terminate a 31 week pregnancy. And I know she didn't make that decision lightly, she was considering the pain and suffering of her baby.



I think the fault of this situation lays squarely with the medical professionals involved. I can't understand how this could happen, given the babies were in separate sacs.

Sal - posted on 11/28/2011

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by some coincidence there was feature on 60 minuites this week that related to and gives some clarity to this situation, it wasn;t about this family but a mum who was happily carriying her baby at about 30 weeks when he was found to have congential heart desiese, she decided to continue the pregnacy and delivered early, he then went into immediate surgury and lived 10 days and then they lost him,
this was the most heart breaking thing i have watched for a long time,but it did clarify for me that this mum who was a very healthy and well off mum who had all the best care still didn;t find the prob until 30+ weeks...while it was just devestating i still think that seeing that little baby there who was about the same age as the one terminated makes me think that 32 weeks realy is too late, he was a fully formed perfect little body..there is only ever the slimest chance of a happy ending in these situations this mum said that even though it was the most heart breaking thing for this mum she said that she would do nothing differently, and i think that is the way i feel too, i could never judge a parent for taking the other option but it does seem wrong for me..

Sherri - posted on 11/26/2011

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I will not blame the parents on this one they were following medical advice as to what was the best option. It was literally the most agonizing decision they would ever make and then the hospital goes and makes such an incomprehensible mistake.

Rosie - posted on 11/26/2011

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i am pro-choice, but this story is disturbing on so many levels. i do not agree with abortion after viability though (which is considered 24 weeks).
how is a heart condition not learned about until that late? isn't that what a 20 week scan is for?
this woman should've had the baby and given it up or something. :(

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Jodi - posted on 11/30/2011

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I absolutely agree that aborting one twin was always going to put the other twin at risk. I don't think I could have done that. I just don't know, however, what the parents knew in this situation in order to make their decision. I can only make assumptions that MAYBE the other twin may have been in danger for some reason. I guess I believe that because I struggle to comprehend such a tragedy and the alternative basis for the decision.

Becky - posted on 11/30/2011

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Jodi, I can understand the devastation of losing an infant can be hard on someone. My cousin lost her "healthy" child at 10 days old due to unknown & unforeseen difficulties. It was terribly hard. And the icing on the cake, she nearly lost her life as well due to internal bleeding. Her sons funeral was scheduled, but they had to reschedule because my cousin was in the hospital.

I'm not saying that every child given a chance will live, but not even doctors can truly know what the out come will be for any child until they are really here. Mistakes are made all the time by doctors.

[deleted account]

I also can't understand how the tech could have made that mistake. At 32 weeks, the babies aren't switching positions much at all. They are pretty much fixed into a set position because there is no room.

[deleted account]

As the mom of two sets of twins, I don't even know how to react to this. I just feel that so much information is missing. For example, when dealing with one healthy twin and one unhealthy twin, sometimes the decision is made to terminate one to save the other. However, that decision is rarely made after 24 weeks. It’s normally made around 12 weeks, or possibly 18 weeks, but even that’s pushing it. Why? Because after 24 weeks, terminating one fetus will likely result in the mother going into labor, which means you put the other twin at extreme risk. The risks of forced prematurity at that age are high. Early in the pregnancy, the expired twin is more likely to be absorbed. Later, it's more likely to be expelled. The twins weren’t in the same sac so there wasn’t a risk of one taking down the other. So I just can’t even fathom why this course of action was even recommended. If the healthy fetus was at risk due to the unhealthy fetus, terminating the unhealthy fetus wouldn’t solve the problem because the mom would go into labor. I’m just dumbfounded that termination would be the advice, which leads me to conclude that there is more to the story then we know. That being said, I have a really hard time understanding why any mother would agree to terminate a fetus at 32 weeks. Why not just carry on with the pregnancy and let nature take its course? If Baby A had no chance of survival, and Baby B was at risk, why not just deliver both babies? It just doesn't make any sense.

Kellie - posted on 11/29/2011

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I think at the end of the day 32 weeks is far to late for a abortion. I looked up on the net babies born at 32 weeks. They are fully formed. Normal little babies. There was even pictures of a aborted babie. I can't get that picture out of my head.

Aleks - posted on 11/28/2011

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One thing to remember also is that the medical profession is geared towards what is the worst scenario - never the best. I have heard and also experienced myself the fear mongering that a lot of medical professionals tend to do (especially regarding pregnancy and babies in utero). It makes me also wonder how much information could they, doctors, have gagued about the heart defect to make such a definitive call ( I am not a medical expert but just throwing questions out there... ie, just questioning) about the baby's prospects. Sometimes, like someone before me said, things look much worse initially than later turn out to be. Also, if the ill twin was somehow impacting on the viability of the 2nd healthy twin in utero, why not just go for an emergency c-section and have both babies out? And if it took 3 hours to 'abort" (in my and many peoples' eyes = kill) the ill twin (after he was delivered) then how is that different then letting nature take its course? Wasn't the mother informed of what a late term abortion looks like????

Honestly, I don't feel for the mother, but am not sure that I blame her entirely. I blame the doctors, the system and our newly instituted abortion laws! (I live here in Victoria, and am familiar with the hospital in question, though I have been lucky to have never had to use it). I have a feeling that the information wasn't well given out to the poor family BY THE DOCTORS so that the decision made was probably NOT an INFORMED one. Which makes me feel very angry!!!



This is why I am so sickened by this whole scenario and feel mostly for those poor babies (at least they are together as fate intended).

Jodi - posted on 11/28/2011

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But Becky, on the other hand, I know a little boy who died at 4 months old after having to go through 4 heart surgeries and countless weeks in hospital. He was my step-son's baby brother.



Do we really know the exact prognosis that was given to this couple? Or the exact problem with the defect? There are various congenital heart defects which could have been the issue.



I guess that's the issue I have. We don't have all of the information, and I don't think there is a single parent out there who would make such a decision at such a late term in the pregnancy without having considered every single fact very carefully. The details of this situation are very sketchy. Which is why I refuse, personally, to stand either side of the fence on this one.

Becky - posted on 11/28/2011

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I just have to add this food for thought!

Growing up, one of my best friends bore and awful ugly scar down her chest, and a second across her stomach. When I finally got up the nerve to ask her about it, she explained that she was born with a congenital hear disorder and underwent surgery immediately after birth, and again a few months later. She was not expected to survive.

SHe has grown up, and become a wonderful person. A light to anyone's life she enters. She is active in her church, she has this AMAZING voice that seems to just come from no where, and she uses it in the christian band she is involved with. She also has been lead in may programs that aid the families of soldiers over seas and many, many other things. She has literary changed the course of peoples lives, including my own.

I'll admit, that as an adult, she has recently gone though additional surgeries, including having a pace maker and valve replacement in the last year. But she has always had this wonderful out looks and a smile on her face . . . thankful for every moment she has been given and has made the most of her life so far. She was joking after her last surgery about feeling like a car engine with new valves and pipes!

Her initial life saving surgeries happened more than 30 years ago. This story saddens me because they didn't even try. I look at my friend and I can't imagine things if her parents had not tried to save her when she was born. I see what can happen when a miracle baby is given the opportunity to survive and has supportive parents to help at every step of the way!

Lacye - posted on 11/27/2011

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I'm sorry but I can't feel bad for the mother. I wouldn't wish something like this on anybody but it was her decision to go through with the whole thing. I wouldn't have done it and yes I can say that because I know what I would have done in that situation. Yes it would have caused me pain if the sick twin had died but they still said that there was a chance he could have lived. That would have been good enough for me.

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32weeks.Its way to late.I feel for the parents but 32weeks.No its not right.:-(



As a mother knowing that there ending the life of a baby who can survive if they did arrive at this stage is wrong.

I don't judge a woman who terminates but i do not think its okay to abort after 16-20 weeks at most.

I wouldn't have the heart to end the life of an unborn and keep the other.Esp with twins.They grew together and share a bond already.

Kellie - posted on 11/27/2011

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My first thought is for the twins and that makes me angry. l am a mum of twins. At 32 weeks l was put into hospital. The doctor said my girl twin was not growing right. l ended up carrying my twins to 38 weeks. My little girl was 7.3 pounds. My doctors said after about 30 weeks its hard to get acturate readings at this stage. l do wonder if thats the same for picking up other issues as well. l feel that 32 weeks is to late for a abortion. l would not have had one. ln saying that l have not been in this position. Right now my thoughts are with the poor little twin boys. Just so sad.

Hope - posted on 11/26/2011

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I just read over my comment. I did not say anything about you not having sympathy. It has taken me over 36 hours to even begin to understand how I feel about this situation. I have been questioning my beliefs and my stance on abortion greatly for the past 3 months. I am still in a very muddled place when it comes to those things but I can see why they made the decision to abort the baby. It is a struggle being a new mum of one, let alone a mum with a healthy baby and a fatally ill baby.

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Saying I feel no sympathy for the woman was a tad too harsh and honestly was not my first reaction. I DO actually feel something for her. Losing a baby at any stage and for any reason is heartbreaking and something I wish no mother had to experience.

I'm just torn on this. I know it was the hospital's mistake that cost her the healthy baby, but if not for the choice to terminate the other she'd still HAVE that one. Which I'm sure she has already thought of many times over. :(

Sal - posted on 11/26/2011

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there really has only been one comment judging the mum,even though i think 32 weeks is too late for an aborion i feel nothing but sorrow for the family...i guess each person makes their decisions based on personal experiences and mine is of a freinds daughter born at 25 weeks and now being a beautiful perfect 5 year old so 32 seems like such a developed baby.....i also know a mum who delivered in the past couple of months at 22 weeks as the baby hadnt deleloped a couple of majour organs, they ddnt call it abortion i thnk it was refered to as preterm induced (this might be a little wrong) i know it is only a word change but makes the baby seem more respected....just as heart breaking but more resect

Hope - posted on 11/26/2011

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My sister had a little baby girl 5 months ago today. She was born with fatal genetic syndrome. She was on the earth for 53 days. It has broken family. My sister is in a very sad and lonely place now. She told me one day, it was so hard she wouldn't do that again. She would have an abortion instead of putting herself and her little family through that again.
Now for me to hear my sister talk like that was heart breaking but when I look at the pain and anguish my family is going through. Heartbreak of losing a small baby after getting to know her and falling in love with her is a hard and devastating thing that no one should have to live through. I can still feel my heart breaking as I write this.
People who are judging this mother for the decision she make without ever being in that place your need to realise, it is easy to say what you would do while you sit in your house behind your computer screen. But when you are faced with a situation likes this, it is heartbreaking, devastating and the hardest decision you could make in your life.
We should not be judging this poor woman and her family, we should be questioning the professionals who allowed this to happen, we should be looking into this to find out what went wrong so it never happens again. Seeing where the flaws are in the policies, in the training ect. And instead of sitting behind our computers bitching about the things we don’t like, getting out there and doing something to change it.
I am grade in way that this has happened because now the problems can be highlighted. I truly believe there is a problem in this country with the ultrasound procedures. Since the birth of my niece I have heard any stories of hospital not picking up this or that. I know the technicians are only human but when there are so many cases of mistakes, there is a problem somewhere along the line that needs fixing. Whether it is not enough training, being over worked, lack of resourses. These problems need to be address so we get the best health care. So that incidences like this and many other that are not on the news are prevented and no more families need to go through the tragedy of losing a baby.

Ez - posted on 11/26/2011

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There are a lot of things about this story that don't make sense. Like someone else said, why did it take that long to diagnose the congenital heart defect? There's obviously a lot more information that we aren't privy to.



So I will not condemn this grieving mother. Yes, late term abortion is horrific. But I'm sure she didn't just wake up one day and go 'yay I think I'll go get rid of one of my babies today' :-/ For it to even go ahead, the doctors had to get authorization from other consultants and the hospital board. That says to me there were some serious complications.



This story is horrendous, and is a gross malpractice claim in the making. As it should be. But throwing the family under the bus for what must have been the hardest decision of their life is heartless and cruel.

Hope - posted on 11/26/2011

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I could write an essay response to this tragic event that has occurred. I have many feelings in response to a tragic event that happened in our family this.
After reading this news report and think of our family these are the question racing around my head.

What is happening with our ultrasound technicians? Are they getting all the training they need?
Should the 2008 abortion laws have been past in Victoria, allow for late term abortion up to 40 weeks?
I would hope after this tragic event our government here in Queensland think hard before they follow in Victoria's footsteps.

Sal - posted on 11/26/2011

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it is heart breaking but i too think that 32 weeks is too late if it were me i would of delivered both babies when the time came.

[deleted account]

I was going to ask if they spent 3 hours trying to kill him or if they spent 3 hours in a surgery to HELP him and he died. The article definitely makes it sound like the first option.... which would be one of the reasons I don't really have much sympathy for anyone but the babies in this story. :(

Rosie - posted on 11/26/2011

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i'd also like to know what "spending 3 hours terminating his life" entails. they just took that baby and spent 3 hours killing him? what were they doing to him? makes me sad...

[deleted account]

I feel really bad for those babies, but I'm having a hard time mustering up much sympathy for their mother right now. Nothing and no one could ever convince me to kill my baby at 32 weeks! If they had let him have a chance.... she'd still have a baby.

Becky - posted on 11/26/2011

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Oh my goodness, what a terrible story! That is so sad for that poor family! I would absolutely be pursuing legal action against that hospital! This should never have happened!
That said, that late in the pregnancy, I would have been having the baby and trying to save his life or letting nature take its course if he was too sick. I don't think I could risk the life of the other twin, even if I knew the one wouldn't survive.

Aleks - posted on 11/26/2011

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This whole thing makes me feel totally sickened and disgusted. And unbelieveably sad for those two babies :'-(
Here is the full story: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-ne...

Why on earth would you be (as a doctor) allowing such a procedure to take place at such a late stage in the pregnancy is beyond me.

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