For those interested in the Baby Isaiah story below is a piece from Cybercast News Service:
This past January 25, we wrote about a little boy named Isaiah. He was born on Oct. 9, 2009. Due to the fact that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck during birth, his brain was deprived of oxygen. Isaiah was then airlifted to a children’s hospital in Edmonton, Canada.
The hospital arrived at a decision that the child was “brain dead” and therefore should be taken off life support. Life support in this case is a ventilator that helps the baby breathe.
As the hospital reportedly advised Rebecka and Isaac May, Isaiah’s parents, it does not believe baby Isaiah will improve; and therefore, it is not worth their effort to keep him alive.
Baby Isaiah’s parents objected strongly, and what has ensued has been both heart wrenching for the parents and heartbreaking for those of us who understand the dignity of the human person, which is not measured by man’s standards but by God’s.
The latest news on Baby Isaiah’s case is at least heartening: “A provincial court in Alberta ordered Friday [Feb. 19] that baby Isaiah May remain on life support until March 11. The order gives Isaiah’s parents, who have been fighting to keep their brain-damaged baby alive, nearly three more weeks to assemble outside medical experts to assess his chances for further recovery.”
CTV News in Winnipeg reported this past week: “The family’s lawyer told the court neonatologist Dr. Richard Taylor from Victoria General Hospital will be assessing the baby’s condition Friday. Two other doctors are also being consulted to participate in assessments, including a specialist from the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, who is said to be intrigued by unusual medical cases.”
Updating that report, we now know:
Dr. Richard Taylor, a neonatologist from Victoria General Hospital, arrived in Edmonton Thursday and continued his examination of Isaiah Friday.
He will return to Victoria and consult with colleagues before sharing his report.
The Mays are trying to line up a second expert, but it hasn’t been easy, their lawyer, Rosanna Saccomanni told The Canadian Press. Some are reluctant to get involved in a case with such a high media profile; others charge fees well beyond the Mays’ means.
Saccomani said the Mays may reach a decision by the next court date, but above all they want to take their time to make sure they have the best advice.
“We don’t want to rush anything,” she said. “There’s no need to rush things. We’re hoping to have an answer sooner rather than later but we want the proper time to be taken so the family gets all the answers they need.” [This, for me, is the proper attitude. It seems the Mays are turning to their Faith for consolation and we should join them in prayer for the life of their precious son.]
While the legal proceedings have continued, Isaiah’s condition has not changed much, although his parents say he continues to grow and do well.
“There hasn’t been very many improvements over the past few weeks, but he’s still growing,” Isaac Mays told CTV Edmonton. “He’s over 12 pounds and he just looks like a perfect little boy.”
It is of increasing interest that even medical professionals who are highly skilled in their ability to diagnose, study, and make recommendations to families are influenced not by the ability of the patient’s family to pay or by a great distance that he or she might have to travel, but rather by the “high media profile” of a case like this.
Such an assessment shocks and disquiets anyone who understands that Baby Isaiah’s wellbeing has absolutely nothing to do with media but everything to do with his identity as a human being, an individual person, a child of God who deserves the highest level of respect and care due any vulnerable human being, whether able or unable to defend himself. The financial question can always be addressed, but first one has to find competent physicians and diagnosticians unafraid of publicity, notoriety or simple derision from a public grown callous to the humanity of those deemed somehow unwanted.
One can detect this sort of attitude in the language used both by the hospital and by CTV. The television outlet’s description of the infant’s condition as not having “changed much” is of course subjective and not a medical opinion.
Then there is this statement:
Alberta Health Services and the hospital had argued that 30 days should have been long enough to determine if the boy’s condition could meaningfully improve if he remains on a ventilator. They also noted that any further delay puts a strain on doctors and staff at the Stollery. [While this may be true, being human is so much more than being a number.]
The hospital, as noted above, has also opined that providing care to this baby is worthless. Does Isaiah’s visible progress or the attitude of the hospital staff make this baby less of a precious infant? [Amen.]
Is Baby Isaiah similar to a discounted item that has been bruised or cracked and is therefore worth little to nothing at the local five-and-dime? Do individuals who make or report such statements understand that they are commenting on a person and not an object?
Isaiah’s parents are making every effort to be prudent and to take whatever steps are required to ascertain the full and complete diagnosis and prognosis needed by any family facing an emotionally charged situation like this one. One wonders why there aren’t experts lining up to help, to guide and to provide the information these parents rightly deserve to have.
As this case continues to move through the clinical phase, the media phase and the court phase, nobody can know what the end result will be. The sad fact is that while this Canadian case has received a great deal of attention, which is healthy for the family and the public, there are countless numbers of similar cases in which deadly decisions are made daily and lives are ended due to such things as “quality of life” or “futility.” [And people wonder why pro-lifers put up such a fight to save the unborn and weak. For those with a hardness of heart, just remember that it could be you in that position.]
We are praying for baby Isaiah and his parents as they deal with the stresses and sorrows that accompany this five-month-old little boy in his life’s journey. [Let us continue to pray for them and those in similar situations.] We are further called to reflect on the words of the prophet Isaiah when describing the sort of peace that would come into the world with a Savior who would begin his life as a preborn child, prophesying. “And a little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)
This unfathomable mystery that surrounds the revelation of the coming of Christ reminds us, particularly in this season of Lent, that all things are made new in Christ, including those broken or affected in a negative way by disability or severe brain damage. Let us pray, then, for a miracle.
May Rebecka and Isaac May be overwhelmed by the peace that, as St. Paul explained to the Philippians (4:6-7) is beyond the world’s understanding:
Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer petition shot through with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.