Woman refuses CS, charged with murder - page 4

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (03-11) 13:49 PST SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A pregnant woman who allegedly ignored medical warnings to have a... Read More

  1. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from kristyTX
    I saw a picture of her on AOL and she did not have to worry about a possible scar to make her look bad, she already did.
    Maybe she didn't think she did. (beside the point though)
  2. by   AlaskaKat
    Quote from USC2001
    What I don't understand is why did she go to three different hospitals for decreased fetal movement if she didn't want anything done about it? If you are going to refuse medical attention then don't go to the hospital!
    This is the part that's hard for me also. Why do people seek care when they are going to refuse it or be noncompliant? I think in this case, she probably is too ill to be competent enough to understand what she was refusing, or perhaps I'm just being optimistic.

    We had a similar case a few years back, only this woman had no mental illness that I know of. She had severe pre-ecclampsia and was hospitalized but refused Mag. I don't remember her reasoning exactly. She also refused to be transported to a bigger center with a NICU, though she really was sick enough that she needed to be delivered. She did accept some apresoline (I think), since it was PO, and agreed to transport herself to the other city where there was a big hospital (think really tiny remote town). She left AMA and was going to get on a commercial flight the next day or so. Sadly, she abrupted at home and came in to us with a dead baby. Just about put all of us over the edge, becasue it shouldn't have happened, I think wouldn't have happened had she followed medical advice.

    But, the thing is, that is their right. Don't you guys all have to talk about this with every admit? You have the right to help plan your care...You have the right to refuse care...You have the right to an advanced directive...

    A free country and all... Can't tie people down and do surgery on them.
  3. by   scrncurt
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    I agree; I cannot see how murder charges can stick. That makes no sense. The consequences of her decision were grave, but it's not murder to me. Nope. Just pure and simple stupidity and vanity, and sadly not offenses for which we can convict her.
    Murder charges probably wont stick but the woman deserves to get her name on all of the local papers and tv. She may never be punished but she will never live it down after being officially charged and brought out like this.
    The hospital could have contacted a judge and got a court order for the C section to be preformed. It would have been carried out before there could have been any appeal. At least the baby would still be alive.
  4. by   Azdream'nRN
    It seems like there is much more to the story than is being told. This woman obviously did not have the real care or concern of the medical staff. The laws are quick now to interfere into peoples personal lives and if she has a history of mental illness, then she just does and she has special needs that need to be taken care of by her doctor and nurses and others involved in her care. It sounds like she was on the right foot to be involved with the father of the children. In a state like Utah, such persons who cohabitate may be unpopular with the status quo. So they would be more likely to be picked on and will stand out even more. She is not a good looking woman, which is all the more reason why she would be singled out.
    People live with mental illness every day and raise children with the disease, like it or not and it's the reality and it's a high percentage now of our population. Mental illness strikes the ugly and the beautiful alike. I don't think that they should charge her with murder as this seems totally unfair. This talk of a scar does not make any sense to me. Maybe she was just fearful of another surgery and could not express herself in any other way to say that she didn't want to have a surgery here, so she made up this excuse involving the issue of the scar. That is quite possible as people often do not like to admit that they are afraid. Things are not always as they appear.
    There are uncounted numbers of situations where C-sections were requested or required and were not done for one reason or another, only to find that the baby died or was still born. There are multiple cases where the doctor was busy with someone else. Doctors car broke down in traffic, doctor did not make it on time because of this or that, rounds took priority, or he was out shopping and didn't make it on time. Mother did not get to the hospital in time, mother was left alone at home, did not feel well and just thought to lay down for a little while, mother at the last minute changed her mind and opted for a vaginal delivery against her doctors advice, etc. In the end, the story was the SAME, baby was stillborn.
    In cases like this, do we prosecute everyone involved all the time? Our prison population will then sure grow fast. Are we becoming a police state and do we want to live in such a society that is policing people in their personal lives to such a hard core extent? Is it a situation that involves policing? She did not commit murder as she did not give this child pills or drugs to intentionally kill it. She may have been fogged from her mental illness and prehaps past experiences and needed extra time and concern from the medical staff plus maybe a psych referral or consult and maybe some spiritual care too and help with getting over her fears of having a C section.
    She should have been dealt with more compassionately from the start to the finish and the situation might have not been so grievious. She is right now grieving for having lost her 2 children. She languishes in prison in a society that was unfair to her and in a system that did not have any real concern for her.
  5. by   NICU_RNwantsFL
    kristytx - you took the words right out of my mouth!!
    i am certainly no beauty queen, but the scars probably would have onlyimproved her looks!
  6. by   ldshaw
    One thing I was thinking about regarding this story was... What if her religon had something to do with her decision, would they still charge her with murder? I dont know if that was the case at all, but just a thought.
  7. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from nicu_rnwantsfl
    kristytx - you took the words right out of my mouth!!
    i am certainly no beauty queen, but the scars probably would have onlyimproved her looks!

    oh, come on! is that really necessary?? :stone


    the only thing that her looks have to do with this (aside from what may or may not have been her mentality about the scar) is that it might show evidence of self-care deficit, which can be a sign of a mental illness (or more than one).
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from nicu_rnwantsfl
    kristytx - you took the words right out of my mouth!!
    i am certainly no beauty queen, but the scars probably would have onlyimproved her looks!

    wow that's mature!
  9. by   Mimi2RN
    I read in the newspaper that this woman's baby girl had already been adopted out, and had a positve UDS at birth, for cocaine and alcohol. We don't test for alcohol, so that seemed strange to me.

    Also, the baby was adopted very quickly, which means to me that she gave it up, or lost parental rights immediately. That means a long term hx with CPS.

    The other oddball thing reported was a previous hx of 2 c/s.

    Strange woman. strange story. As my son (the detective) told me, don't believe everything you read in the newspapers!
  10. by   Jolie
    Quote from Azdream'nRN
    It seems like there is much more to the story than is being told. This woman obviously did not have the real care or concern of the medical staff. The laws are quick now to interfere into peoples personal lives and if she has a history of mental illness, then she just does and she has special needs that need to be taken care of by her doctor and nurses and others involved in her care. It sounds like she was on the right foot to be involved with the father of the children. In a state like Utah, such persons who cohabitate may be unpopular with the status quo. So they would be more likely to be picked on and will stand out even more. She is not a good looking woman, which is all the more reason why she would be singled out.
    People live with mental illness every day and raise children with the disease, like it or not and it's the reality and it's a high percentage now of our population. Mental illness strikes the ugly and the beautiful alike. I don't think that they should charge her with murder as this seems totally unfair. This talk of a scar does not make any sense to me. Maybe she was just fearful of another surgery and could not express herself in any other way to say that she didn't want to have a surgery here, so she made up this excuse involving the issue of the scar. That is quite possible as people often do not like to admit that they are afraid. Things are not always as they appear.
    There are uncounted numbers of situations where C-sections were requested or required and were not done for one reason or another, only to find that the baby died or was still born. There are multiple cases where the doctor was busy with someone else. Doctors car broke down in traffic, doctor did not make it on time because of this or that, rounds took priority, or he was out shopping and didn't make it on time. Mother did not get to the hospital in time, mother was left alone at home, did not feel well and just thought to lay down for a little while, mother at the last minute changed her mind and opted for a vaginal delivery against her doctors advice, etc. In the end, the story was the SAME, baby was stillborn.
    In cases like this, do we prosecute everyone involved all the time? Our prison population will then sure grow fast. Are we becoming a police state and do we want to live in such a society that is policing people in their personal lives to such a hard core extent? Is it a situation that involves policing? She did not commit murder as she did not give this child pills or drugs to intentionally kill it. She may have been fogged from her mental illness and prehaps past experiences and needed extra time and concern from the medical staff plus maybe a psych referral or consult and maybe some spiritual care too and help with getting over her fears of having a C section.
    She should have been dealt with more compassionately from the start to the finish and the situation might have not been so grievious. She is right now grieving for having lost her 2 children. She languishes in prison in a society that was unfair to her and in a system that did not have any real concern for her.
    To Azdream'nRN,

    I have to say that your post disturbs me. There is much about this story that is unknown to us, including whether or not the mother CHOSE to access prenatal care, yet you have decided that, "this woman obviously did not have the real care or concern of the medical staff." And that "the laws are quick now to interfere into people's personal lives..."

    I'd like to know how you have reached these conclusions. Because with 11 years of OB and NICU experience, much of it high-risk, I have never encountered a situation that involved the lack of real care or concern for a patient, or a legal situation where a judge was quick to interfere into people's personal lives.

    As I said, much of this discussion involves conjecture on our parts, since information has not been made available to the public. But I would be willing to bet the farm that this mother did not have regular prenatal care which would have enabled her to establish a trusting relationship with a provider such as an OB or CNM. Whether or not to access prenatal care is the mother's choice. No one goes out and rounds up pregnant ladies for their prenatal checkups. Having had at least 2 previous pregnancies, I'm sure she was aware of the importance of medical care, and had at least some inkling of how to go about getting it, but it appears that she chose not to do so. That she visited a number of different ER's in the final weeks of her pregnancy raises a huge red flag that she had no regular provider who could have helped her thru her mental health issues and the complications of her pregnancy that led to the demise of one twin. And not having a regular provider would have been her choice.

    The staff members that evaluated her in each of those ER visits gave her consistent information regarding the risk of continuing her pregnancy and attempting a vaginal delivery. She consistently refused their suggestions and left AMA each time. As much as it pains me to see the outcome of this case, I support her right to refuse a C-section. I don't know how you think the staff could have successfully gotten a judge to intervene and order a C-section. Have you ever been involved in obtaining court-ordered treatment for a patient? I have, and it is not easy. Judges do not take lightly (nor should they) the notion of over-riding a patient's stated wishes. The only cases I have seen in which judges issued orders for treatment involved minor children whose lives were in imminent risk without it, and whose parents refused consent. The rationale being that the children would want to live, if they were able to state their own wishes. I have never seen a case where a judge imposed an order for treatment against the wishes of an adult, especially when the life of the adult is not in danger. Even in cases of involuntary psychiatric treatment of the mentally ill, most states require that the patient pose an imminent risk to the safety of himself or another person before a judge can mandate treatment. Again, sadly, I have to agree that this case does not meet such a standard, as the rights of an unborn child do not outweigh the rights of the mother.

    I agree that a charge of murder is not appropriate here. She did not take action to knowingly kill her baby. That she chose not to take action to save it is indeed sad, but not murderous.

    You state, "She should have been dealt with more compassionately from the start to the finish and the situation might not have been so grevious." Please do not indict the medical professionals who tried to save her child. You have no idea what mental health interventions they attempted to make during her brief ER stays. So, the notion that more compassionate treatment by the doctors and nurses could have saved this baby's life is, frankly, offensive.

    While I agree that this mother's choices do not make her a muderer, she is responsible for the outcome of this pregnancy.
  11. by   kanai3
    Quote from Darchild77
    Can anyone think of a more suitable punishment or charge than murder?(this is a question, I'm not saying murder is an apprpriate charge-so please don't misunderstand)
    Hmm. I disagree with her being charged at all - since I don't think you can force people to have procedures, but if I had to charge her with something, I would charge her with criminal negligence for failing to use contraception, since people like that shouldn't be having children..
    But I also wonder - if to give her the benefit of a doubt since all this reporting was A.) third hand - if maybe she was just scaried - maybe she needed some patient education - since she sounded pretty naive talking about the C-section, (what was that great quote they used - about having an incision from sternum from pubis..) I also question the veracity of some of the quotes.
  12. by   kanai3
    Jolie -

    I much agree with your reply but you stated it better than I could have. I became quite annoyed reading the post giving the same old "callous and cold-hearted "staff song and dance. It irritates me that her personal responsibility for her actions should be considered to be negated by "a lack of compassion" by medical and nursing staff. That just seems a conveinent way to shift blame.
    While pondering her interior motivations is interesting, it doesn't absolve her of any responsibility for the ultimate outcome.
    Recognizing this responsibility doesn't make us any less compassionate either.
  13. by   southRNflchick
    Quote from Jolie
    To Azdream'nRN,

    I have to say that your post disturbs me. There is much about this story that is unknown to us, including whether or not the mother CHOSE to access prenatal care, yet you have decided that, "this woman obviously did not have the real care or concern of the medical staff." And that "the laws are quick now to interfere into people's personal lives..."

    I'd like to know how you have reached these conclusions. Because with 11 years of OB and NICU experience, much of it high-risk, I have never encountered a situation that involved the lack of real care or concern for a patient, or a legal situation where a judge was quick to interfere into people's personal lives.

    As I said, much of this discussion involves conjecture on our parts, since information has not been made available to the public. But I would be willing to bet the farm that this mother did not have regular prenatal care which would have enabled her to establish a trusting relationship with a provider such as an OB or CNM. Whether or not to access prenatal care is the mother's choice. No one goes out and rounds up pregnant ladies for their prenatal checkups. Having had at least 2 previous pregnancies, I'm sure she was aware of the importance of medical care, and had at least some inkling of how to go about getting it, but it appears that she chose not to do so. That she visited a number of different ER's in the final weeks of her pregnancy raises a huge red flag that she had no regular provider who could have helped her thru her mental health issues and the complications of her pregnancy that led to the demise of one twin. And not having a regular provider would have been her choice.

    The staff members that evaluated her in each of those ER visits gave her consistent information regarding the risk of continuing her pregnancy and attempting a vaginal delivery. She consistently refused their suggestions and left AMA each time. As much as it pains me to see the outcome of this case, I support her right to refuse a C-section. I don't know how you think the staff could have successfully gotten a judge to intervene and order a C-section. Have you ever been involved in obtaining court-ordered treatment for a patient? I have, and it is not easy. Judges do not take lightly (nor should they) the notion of over-riding a patient's stated wishes. The only cases I have seen in which judges issued orders for treatment involved minor children whose lives were in imminent risk without it, and whose parents refused consent. The rationale being that the children would want to live, if they were able to state their own wishes. I have never seen a case where a judge imposed an order for treatment against the wishes of an adult, especially when the life of the adult is not in danger. Even in cases of involuntary psychiatric treatment of the mentally ill, most states require that the patient pose an imminent risk to the safety of himself or another person before a judge can mandate treatment. Again, sadly, I have to agree that this case does not meet such a standard, as the rights of an unborn child do not outweigh the rights of the mother.

    I agree that a charge of murder is not appropriate here. She did not take action to knowingly kill her baby. That she chose not to take action to save it is indeed sad, but not murderous.

    You state, "She should have been dealt with more compassionately from the start to the finish and the situation might not have been so grevious." Please do not indict the medical professionals who tried to save her child. You have no idea what mental health interventions they attempted to make during her brief ER stays. So, the notion that more compassionate treatment by the doctors and nurses could have saved this baby's life is, frankly, offensive.

    While I agree that this mother's choices do not make her a muderer, she is responsible for the outcome of this pregnancy.



    I completely agree with your statement, Azdream'n....everything you said was right on....

    The only thing that I haven't read in a single one of these posts is this:
    if the patient was truly suffering from a mental illness,and wasn't of sound mind...why didn't someone step in (anyone, a doctor, a family member) and have a stat psych consult done on her, and BAKER ACT the woman? If you are a threat to yourself or others (in this case, the babies) and do not act rationally...this is always an option. She could have at least been monitored, possibly developed a "rapport" with a medical professional (for those of you that assumed no medical staff was caring or kind to this woman) and the whole outcome could have changed. I've seen pregnant patients Baker Acted before, so I know it can be done!!! Hindsight really IS 20/20.
    Last edit by southRNflchick on Mar 16, '04 : Reason: wanted the quote on top

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