By Mary Kellett
Founder and Executive Director
Prenatal Partners For Life

The doctor and patient relationship is central and indispensable to good quality healthcare. Having trust and confidence in what a doctor is telling a patient is crucial to the well being of that patient. The best care is received when there is a truthful, respectful partnership between doctors and their patients.

There is an area where frequently patients are intimidated, pressured and even outright lied to.  When a woman receives the news that her preborn baby may have health issues or special needs there can be pressure, intimidation and coercion to end the life of her baby or to not pursue treatment after the birth.

Prenatal Partners for Life has helped support thousands of families since it was founded in 2005. The things that I personally have experienced and the families that we have supported have often experienced are shocking and downright heartbreaking.

Hurtful and Negative Medical “Advice”

I was told after it was confirmed my son had trisomy 18 that he would never contribute to society and it was better to let him go. I was also told he would be a horrible burden to our family and our other children would be harmed if we brought our son home.

Families have been told that their child with special needs would ruin their marriage, so it is best to abort. Families have been told that they need to end the life of their child because it is the most compassionate thing to do. Families have been told that valuable resources will be wasted if their child is allowed to live.

Some of the most hurtful comments play on the love a parent has for their child. Comments like, “You don’t want them to live a life of suffering do you?  Or, “Your child will have such a poor quality of life and never know you or be happy, it’s best to end it now.”  

Predicting the future in only a negative light is a common experience for families who receive a diagnosis. Families are told all the things their child will never do.  Families are sometimes made to feel guilty for wanting to embrace the life of their child and help their child reach their full potential.

Once a doctor has been caught in lying, exaggerating, or telling only half-truths, the doctor-patient relationship is often damaged beyond repair. The consequences for the families are devastating, making a hard situation so much harder than it needs to be. The consequences for the medical professionals are negative too, with the loss of integrity that casts a poor light on all doctors.

Gratitude for Honest, Compassionate Doctors

Thankfully there are still doctors that offer clear, accurate and complete information in a compassionate way. To you, truthful and kindhearted doctors, we express profound gratitude. Families never forget you and are eternally grateful. You will forever hold a special place in their hearts! You understand that “Lies have no place in medicine.”

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