19 October 2011

Surgeons


I don't envy surgeons.

When parents of a Trisomy 18 kiddo come to you and say, 'Please help my baby', what do you do?

Tell them 'erm...the risks are very high, you may lose her on the table, even if we operate and she survives, she won't last very long so what's the point. Plus she will continue to be high-need and low functioning.'

Or do you say 'ok, if this is the problem, this is what has to be done. The risks are very high, and you must be prepared to lose her, but we'll do whatever we can. I can't tell you if she will make it, that's up to her. If she does, potentially it could give her a few more months or years.'

I guess the difference lies in where the surgeon stands on the concept of Futility and Hope.

Both lie on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Where does one end and the other begin?

Are surgeons in a position to decide?

If the risks are too high are they still worth taking, to buy time for love?

How do they reconcile with failed attempts? Do they 'just move on' or break down and cry too?

Such a heavy responsibility - holding the fate of someone's child in your hands.

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