Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review May 24, 1999 /9 Sivan, 5759

Mona Charen

Mona Charen
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Tony Snow
Dr. Laura
Bob Greene
Michael Kelly
Paul Greenberg
David Corn
Sam Schulman
Philip Weiss
Mort Zuckerman
Richard Chesnoff
Larry Elder
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Don Feder
Linda Chavez
Mona Charen
Thomas Sowell
Walter Williams
Ben Wattenberg


Baby Hope continued

(JWR) ---- (
THE BARE FACTS of the Baby Hope case would seem to suggest that Connie Boyles, the nurse who attempted to care for the premature infant, and Shelly Lowe, the medical technician who rocked the baby for three hours until she died, were heroines. That isn't the way their employer saw it. Both women have now been forced from their jobs.

The Baby Hope case began when a woman said to be 22 weeks pregnant underwent the first stage of a partial-birth abortion in Ohio. The abortionist had completed only the first phase of the procedure -- dilating the cervix -- when the woman, complaining of severe abdominal pain, checked into the emergency room of her local hospital. She gave birth as she was being examined.

The doctor who attended her placed the baby in a specimen dish and handed it to Shelly Lowe, a medical technician. "Take this to the lab," she instructed. (Anything taken from the human body is sent to the pathology lab.) Lowe looked at the perfectly formed little girl in the dish and saw her breathing. "I don't think I can do that," she told the doctor. "This baby is alive."

The doctor, still busy with the mother, said, "Well, I'll be there in a minute. Take it to the utility room." Shelly didn't. With the help of Connie Boyles and other nurses, she instead took the baby to the resuscitation unit, where she was weighed, warmed and assessed by a neonatology team.

Baby Hope was judged too premature to live, and when Lowe asked if she could hold her until she died, she was permitted to do so. Lowe rocked and sang to Hope, who breathed room air for three hours and then, denied the benefit of incubation and other intensive care, died.

When the emergency-room nurses discussed the case among themselves, Boyles was struck by their ignorance. One said, "I didn't know they performed abortions at 22 weeks." Another offered that the baby was probably brain damaged anyway from the saline. (Saline is not used in partial-birth abortio ns.)

The following day, Boyles contacted a friend in the pro-life movement and asked for literature to distribute to her colleagues, and the story thus became public.

With the hospital in an uproar, Boyles and Lowe consulted with their superiors and with "corporate communications." They were told that the hospital did not impose a gag order on its staff and "we don't want our employees to be afraid of their employer."

But when Boyles returned to work for her next shift, not a single doctor or nurse would speak to her. Her offense, she was given to understand in a tense meeting with her boss, was compromising patient confidentiality. Yet Boyles had never revealed the name of the mother in the case and points out that since she never saw the woman, she does not know her name, age, race or any other identifying information to this day.

"It's the abortion issue," she concludes sadly. "When Cincinnati was hit with a tornado, all kinds of stories about patients (names excepted) were given to the press, and no one thought anything about it."

The Baby Hope case plunged Bethesda North Hospital into the center of our society's moral confusion about prenatal life. Bowles knew that the ER doctors believed Baby Hope to be more than 22 weeks old. If true, that would explain a great deal. It would explain how Hope was able to breathe room air for three hours.

And it would explain why the hospital was so worried about publicity.

The weeks between 22 and 25 are critical for viability. Almost no 22-week-old babies survive. But according to figures from Johns Hopkins Medical Center, 15 percent survive at 23 weeks, 56 percent survive at 24 weeks, and 79 percent survive at 25 weeks.

Certain that she would be fired if she did not quit, Boyles tendered her resignation -- bitterly. She was an advocate for a patient, albeit an extremely inconvenient one, and for that, she was found wanting as a nurse. Lowe, who was suspended, plans to appeal.

No one at Bethesda Hospital would comment -- though its answering tape advertises positions available for those seeking to work in an environment of "compassion and care."

JWR contributor Mona Charen reads all of her mail. Let her know what you think by clicking here.


05/20/99:Say no to the Gore tax
05/17/99:Baby Hope
05/13/99:Other high crimes
05/10/99:Three cheers for uniforms
05/05/99: Voucher opponents' worst nightmare
05/03/99: Lessons of Columbine High
04/28/99: Kevorkian is stopped
04/26/99: "Senseless tragedy"?
04/22/99: Hey, hey, ... Bubba
04/19/99: Why we are in Kosovo
04/15/99: Hooray for the NYPD
04/09/99: How to do something about taxes
04/06/99:Can the private sector handle foster care?
03/31/99: The Flower Child goes to war
03/29/99: Foreign-policy meltdown
03/25/99: 'Just doin' it'
03/22/99: Return of pay equity?
03/16/99: St. Hillary
03/10/99: Rodney King in perspective
03/08/99: Monica's story: No morals
03/04/99: Not home but library alone:
3/02/99: Tuning our racial sensitivities
2/27/99: Cease-fire in war between sexes?
2/23/99: Where were the religious voices?
2/19/99: Depends what you mean by "acting"
2/17/99: As Minn., goes so goes the nation?
2/09/99: Prepare for post-impeachment spin
2/03/99: Teaching morality
2/01/99: What did he say?
1/26/99: The truth about the Peace Process
1/22/99: The vulgar decade
1/19/99: Was Jefferson libeled by DNA?
1/13/99: The backlash picks up speed
1/11/99: Who invented politics of personal destruction?
1/07/99: Shall we dance?
1/05/99: Try him!
12/30/98: The price of virtue
12/28/98: The gift of giving
12/22/98: Party of shame, party of shamelessness
12/18/98: Wag the country
12/16/98: Is this impeachment constitutional?
12/14/98: Republicans find courage
12/09/98: Nappy Hair and other racial slurs
12/07/98: Stranger in a strange land
12/02/98: Dangerous ground
11/30/98: Involuntary fatherhood?
11/24/98: Lies, damned lies, and sex lies
11/18/98: Another victory for cowardice
11/16/98: Separatism plus welfarism equals a dead end
11/10/98: Did conservatism lose campaign '98?
11/06/98: Democrat venality, Republican timidity
11/04/98: Are girls being shortchanged?
11/02/98: Believe the children?
10/28/98: What 'Measure 58' would do
10/26/98: The officers are bailing out
10/20/98: Using Matthew Shepard's murder
10/19/98: The school voucher that saved a family
10/14/98: Are powerful women different?
10/09/98: Can just sex be impeachable?
10/07/98: Repeal Miranda
10/02/98: Understanding the polls
10/01/98: What school texts teach about marriage
9/28/98: Fear of choice
9/23/98: A fork in the road: Bubba's fate and ours
9/18/98: Christianity and the Holocaust
9/16/98: The national dirty joke
9/11/98: Are we in crisis?
9/09/98: Does Burton's sin let Clinton off the hook?
9/07/98: Liar's Poker
9/01/98: One, two, three
8/28/98: Fat and folly
8/25/98: When homework is a dirty word
8/21/98: The unravelling
8/18/98: The wages of dishonesty
8/17/98: Sex, honor and the presidency
8/12/98: Pro-choice extremist
8/10/98: Switch illuminates biology's role
8/05/98: The presumption of innocence and the American way
8/03/98: An American hero
7/29/98: Lock up those who need psychiatric care
7/24/98: Making the military more like us
7/22/98: The 'Net sex hoax... and us
7/20/98: Disappointed by Cosbys
7/15/98: Feelings, not morality, rule
7/10/98: Guns as the solution?
7/8/98: Teacher preacher
7/6/98: The China behind the headlines
7/1/98: What is the First Amendment for?
6/26/98: The Republican city
6/24/98: Poison pen
6/22/98: Clinton: inventing his own reality?
6/16/98: Senator mom?
6/12/98: Wisconsin: a trail blazer?
6/9/98: These girls say no to sex, yes to excellence
6/5/98: Lewinsky's ex-lawyer would feel right at home as Springer guest
6/2/98: English? Si; Republican? No!
5/29/98: The truth about women and work
5/27/98: Romance in the '90s
5/25/98:Taxing smokers for fun and profit
5/19/98: China's friend in the White House
5/15/98: Look out feminists: here comes the true backlash
5/12/98: The war process?
5/8/98: Where's daddy?
5/5/98: The joys of boys
5/1/98: Republicans move on education reform
4/28/98: Reagan was right
4/24/98: The key to Pol Pot
4/21/98: The patriot's channel
4/19/98: Child-care day can't replace mom
4/15/98: Tax time
4/10/98: Armey states obvious, gets clobbered
4/7/98: A nation complacent?
4/1/98: Bill Clinton's African adventure
3/27/98: Understanding Arkansas
3/24/98: Jerry Springer's America
3/20/98: A small step for persecuted minorities
3/17/98: Skeletons in every closet?
3/13/98: Clinton's idea of a fine judge
3/10/98: Better than nothing?
3/6/98: Of fingernails and freedom
3/3/98: Read JWR! :0)
2/27/98: Dumb and Dumber
2/24/98: Reagan reduced poverty more than Clinton
2/20/98: Rally Round the United Nations?
2/17/98: In Denial
2/13/98: Reconsidering Theism
2/10/98: Waiting for the facts?
2/8/98: Cat got the GOP's tongue?
2/2/98: Does America care about immorality?
1/30/98: How to judge Clinton's denials
1/27/98: What If It's Just the Sex?
1/23/98: Bill Clinton, Acting Guilty
1/20/98: Arafat and the Holocaust Museum
1/16/98: Child Care or Feminist Agenda?
1/13/98: What We Really Think of Abortion
1/9/98: The Dead Era of Budget Deficits Rises Again?
1/6/98: "Understandable" Murder and Child Custody
1/2/98: Majoring in Sex
12/30/97: The Spirit of Kwanzaa
12/26/97: Food fights (Games children play)
12/23/97: Does Clinton's race panel listen to facts?
12/19/97: Welcome to the Judgeocracy, where the law school elite overrules majority rule
12/16/97: Do America's Jews support Netanyahu?

©1999, Creators Syndicate