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Defending life from the moment of conception

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News, 19 August 2004

19 August 2004

19 August 2004 A child who was thought to be brain dead has shocked doctors by coming out of a coma, 12 days after an accident left him without a heart beat for 25 minutes. Helen Forbes was told that her son Mason had no chance of recovery and his life support was switched off, but he began breathing on his own and his condition is slowly improving. He is able to laugh, smile, sit, use a standing frame and doctors believe he will one day be able to walk. [The Daily Express, 19 August] A mother has been awarded £13,500 compensation by a Colchester hospital after a mistake let to her having a caesarean section without anaesthetic. Kira Lothian underwent an emergency caesarean after going into labour at 26 weeks but the anaesthetist failed to notice that her sevoflurane gas canister was empty. The baby boy, Samuel died after suffering two brain haemorrhages. [The Daily Mail, 19 August] A study conducted into the deaths of 137 newborn babies in Scotland over two years has concluded that the deaths were unavoidable and were not caused by either the parents or the mismanagement of medical staff. The majority of babies who died had become brain damaged during pregnancy but the study failed to discover anything in the mothers or during pregnancy and labour that could have predicted a problem. [BBC, 19 August ] Researchers have reported that they can predict the likelihood of parents having a second child with a form of cleft lip and palate through a gene test. Cleft lip and palate is usually correctable through surgery, speech therapy and specialist dental care. [Medical News Today, 19 August ] The Illinois Republican candidate for the US Senate has likened abortion to terrorism. In an interview with the Sun-Times, Alan Keyes said that abortions were the "result of some decision made on the basis of somebody else's sense of their interests, convenience, emotional situation, whatever it may be. Some one consciously targets innocent human life... the evil is the same." [Medical news Today, 19 August ] A study published in the American Journal of Physiology has claimed that embryonic stem cells could be used to repair tissue damaged after a heart attack. Mayo Clinic researchers performed experiments in rats which found that heart function improved in animals who received stem cell therapy compared with those who did not and that they responded better to stress. [Medical News Today, 19 August ] An article in The Guardian has questioned the real potential of human cloning to cure disease, exposing the divisions within the scientific community on the subject. The shortage of eggs was cited as a particular area of concern, with pro-life campaigner Patrick Cusworth being quoted as calculating that it would take 35 million eggs to treat the 350,000 people in Britain who have type 1 diabetes. [The Guardian, 19 August ] Doctors who delivered the world's smallest baby have used the news that she is now a high achieving 14-year-old to urge doctors to think carefully about saving very premature or low weight babies. Madeline Mann was born in 1989 weighing nine ounces. Apart from being short for her age and suffering asthma, she leads the active life of an average teenager, but Dr Muraskas who delivered her expressed concerns about the trend to save babies born very premature. Dr Jerold Lucey, editor of the journal Pediatrics, echoed his concerns, asking whether it made sense to resuscitate these babies and keep them alive through drugs and ventilators. [Reuters, 18 August ] A Dutch court has upheld a government decision to prevent the Women on Waves abortion ship from performing abortions outside a 25km radius of an Amsterdam hospital. The court agreed that it was important for a medical specialist to be available in case of complications and noted that the boat would continue to sail to hand out contraceptive advice. [Expatica, 18 August ]

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