Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Medical Question for Gov. Palin

A noted pathologist and professor of medicine is curious about how they practice in Alaska:

"While Gov. Palin is being praised for choosing to proceed with her pregnancy despite a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome, why was the procedure performed in the first place?

"Amniocentesis is employed in older mothers to detect genetic abnormalities (as it did here) so that abortion can be considered as an option. It is not recommended for younger women because the danger to the fetus outweighs the possible 'benefit' to be gained through detection of genetic abnormality. In other words, more normal fetuses would be aborted by the procedure than would abnormal ones be detected.

"Since Gov. Palin's convictions precluded the possibility that she would decide to abort the fetus irrespective of the outcome of the amniocentesis test, why did she subject her unborn child to the very real risk of death that this procedure carries?"

Is there an Alaskan doctor in the house to explain it?

16 comments:

T.S. Ackerman said...

Excellent point that I wondered about myself. When she was applauded for her "decision" to go forward with the pregnancy, what decision was she making? She's a Feminist for Life. There is no decision. But her decision to fly from Texas to Alaska while essentially in labor is also interesting.

Yellow Dog Don said...

Maybe Track is a male name and Treck for a girl. They just wanted to get first dibs in the family before someone else grabbed it.

Ravinder Makhaik said...

Undergoing the risk laden test is testimony enough that the Governor Palin had other thoughts going through her.

Having to handle a teenage pregnancy at home and looking after a toddler at the same time surely makes for looking after family and children needs as the first priority.

Under such circumstances, accepting the republican nomination itself is fraught with being too ambitious and overlooking what is obivious

Pari said...

While I heartily disapprove of Gov. Palin on more grounds than I can say, this particular question isn't so cut and dry.

I had my last child when I was 40. Though amnio was risky, being pregnant at that age was even more so. I had the procedure for different reasons than Palin (I don't know what I would've done if the results had been abnormal), but knowing the gender of my child helped with all kinds of planning.

It's possible Palin realized it was a probability that her baby would have some kind of abnormality -- AND she wanted to know, to prepare, for it.

Again, I don't condone McCain for his impulsive and, basically, stupid decision -- but Palin's choice to have amnio may have been for very sound reasons.

Peter S. said...

Gonna have to agree with pari on this. I'm 39, my wife's 38, both ardent Liberals. She's pregnant (intentionally), and we decided up front we wanted to keep a Down's child if we had one. We opted not to do the amnio, but we did the other tests leading up to it (all of which told us we have a less than .033% chance of a Down's child) because the doctors pushed them and, frankly, we wanted to know.

Palin may have other reasons, but to infer that from the act of testing is not entirely reasonable. Besides, there are enough other massive gaffes in her past to play with.

Libertina said...

I had my child at 39. My doctor told me up front that he doesn't do routine amnio because he "wouldn't do anything about it anyway." As an "older" mom, I did want to know in advance, even though I would not have aborted a Downs baby, so we did a series of safe blood tests (which would have been done anyway). They can even determine Downs in a sonogram, so amnio is not the only way to do it. I wanted to know in advance so that I would be prepared (fortunately, my daughter has the normal number of chromosomes).

The one issue I'm confused about though is when Palin knew. In some places, she says she knew in advance and told her friends in advance. But in the articles announcing the child's birth, the Down's syndrome either wasn't reported or was a rumor. Palin makes it sound as if she was loud and proud about it from the beginning...not so sure!

Anonymous said...

I am doctor and I used to live in Alaska. Can you confirm that Gov. Palin had an amniocentesis? While they are risky, they are often done on women who have ruled out having an abortion. It would be advantageous during a delivery to know if the baby had down's syndrome, and not something else. I don't think this is a big deal.

However, she did show reckless disregard for her baby. She boarded a plane for a 4,000 mile flight AFTER her membranes had ruptured. That is a big deal and shows an incredible lack of judgment. I posted about it here:

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/2008/08/palins-leaking-amniotic-fluid.php


Steevo

Dhalgren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dhalgren said...

I know doctors who perform terminations, and by my count, about 10% of terminations are done as a result of discovered birth defects (I've seen Downs fetuses, and they have the Downs face). It is the death of a fetus, but the procedure saves financial lives and saves states a lot of money. It is interesting that Palin had the test done.

The risk to the fetus in an amniocentesis is low, but it is a test you can do only once.

But more alarming might be her flight from Texas to Alaska while in labor. No airline should ever allow that. Furthermore, it's just weird. Is the state listed on the birth certificate that important to her? Is she a perfectionist or someone who suffers from OCD?

Dhalgren said...

Steevo - thanks for that TPM post! The real OBGYNs need to speak-up about this story!

jfshark said...

Maybe she wanted to be sure her child would have citizenship when Alaska seceded from the union.

Anonymous said...

As a retired physician with 5 grandkids, I cannot find the explanation for the flight from Dallas, with all it's excellent health care, leaking amniotic fluid, get on a plane? then drive another hour to an isolated rural hospital, and give birth to a premie? weighing over 6lbs and go back to work full time 3 days later.
When I try to find it on the internet, it's all gone.

Anonymous said...

The question at that age may not be one of Down's Syndrome, but other genetic defects as well. The only reason people hear about Downs Syndrome so much is that other cromosomal defects are much less likely to come to term. The 23rd chromosome is a relitive wasteland. If it was something in addition to Downs, you would want to know as well.

Anonymous said...

The reason for an amniocentesis -- despite the fact that she's not por-choice -- is to be prepared in the delivery room for a newborn with complications....that would mean Pediatricians with newborn experience would be on hand ...in the delivery room. It's a normal precaution for that situation.

Why wasn 't she using birth control at that age?

Having said all that, my curiosity wonders why she would fly after her water broke....very danderous, high chance of infection and other really bad results.

Ol Cranky said...

"Why wasn 't she using birth control at that age?

The fundamentalists have re-defined hormonal contraception as abortion and do tend to believe that anything other than natural family planning is immoral

bedava film izle said...

While I heartily disapprove of Gov. Palin on more grounds than I can say, this particular question isn't so cut and dry.

I had my last child when I was 40. Though amnio was risky, being pregnant at that age was even more so. I had the procedure for different reasons than Palin (I don't know what I would've done if the results had been abnormal), but knowing the gender of my child helped with all kinds of planning.

It's possible Palin realized it was a probability that her baby would have some kind of abnormality -- AND she wanted to know, to prepare, for it.

Again, I don't condone McCain for his impulsive and, basically, stupid decision -- but Palin's choice to have amnio may have been for very sound reasons.