Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Life Links 10/18/11

A local Oklahoma news station has the story of Stacy Crimm, a woman who refused chemotherapy for an aggressive brain cancer because she was pregnant, and her daughter Dottie.
With Crimm's death imminent, Beo worked with nurse Jetsy Jacob to step up their questioning of the family, healthcare professionals and disease experts about Crimm's condition, including her staph infection. They talked to Neoflight, the medical center's neonatal transport team, about using a capsule-like ICU to safely move Dottie.

When his sister regained consciousness later that day, Phillips asked what she thought about possibly seeing Dottie. Crimm's eyes popped open and she raised her hands as if to ask where was her child.

Nurses wheeled Dottie down the hallway to her mother moments later. Phillips said doctors, nurses and others clad in protective gear gathered as nurses carefully lifted the baby from the incubator under her mother's watchful eye.

They placed the baby on her mother's chest. Mother and child gazed into each other's eyes for several minutes. She smiled at the baby who at last lay in her arms.

No one said a word. No one had a dry eye.

Stacie Crimm died three days later.

In Tennessee, Shelby County commissioners voted 9-4 to give Christ Community Health Services their county's contract for family planning. Planned Parenthood was the previous recipient of this contract.

Yesterday, 20 cities began offering a new test which can detect Down Syndrome in unborn children earlier and easier than amniocentisis or chorionic villus sampling. The test analyzes fetal DNA in the mother's blood.
The results of a study published online Monday by the journal Genetics in Medicine showed that Sequenom's new test picked up 98.6 percent of Down syndrome cases.

The false-positive rate — when the test incorrectly said that a baby would have Down syndrome — was 0.2 percent.....

The test can be used as early as 10 weeks into a pregnancy, though half of the samples tested in the study were from the second trimester, meaning 15 weeks or more.

The Yale Daily News has an interesting article on how the placenta tricks the mother's immune system to get more nutrients and how this doesn't happen in women with preeclampsia.
In order for the invasive cells to circumvent the mother's white blood cells, the placenta secretes the protein PP13 into the mother's blood as a diversion, Kliman said. White blood cells are the foot soldiers of the human immune system and although they would normally defend the arteries in the uterus, the white blood cells instead attack the decoy PP13, leaving the arteries unprotected. The entire area around the PP13 secretion becomes inflamed and filled with the mother's dead white blood cells, while the placental cells destroy the arteries, increasing blood flow and nutrient supply to the baby, Kliman said.

"The finding was completely unexpected," Kliman said. "For such death and destruction to be a normal part of pregnancy is shocking."

In the absence of PP13, the attacking cells are destroyed and the intact arteries prevent enough blood from reaching the baby. In response, the placenta releases signals that increase the mother's blood pressure in an attempt to increase blood flow, causing the mother to develop preeclampsia.

Kliman said uncovering this mechanism may lay the basis for providing diagnosis and treatment options to pregnant women who develop preeclampsia. Doctors may now be able to detect women who are at risk for preeclampsia long before symptoms emerge, he said.

According to Women's Rights Without Frontiers, a woman in China who was 6 months pregnant died during a forced abortion.
"More than ten persons from the Family Planning Bureau came, took off the oxygen mask from her and forced her to induce labor. From the time she was put into operating room at 4:00 p.m., there was no news about her . . . At night around 10:00 p.m., someone came, opened the door of the delivery room and slipped away. We ran into the delivery room and saw that the doctors and nurses all disappeared while poor Jihong Ma's body had already been totally freezing cold, with purple lips and bleeding nose, lying on the operating table without any movement....."


  1. I've read in a couple of places that studies have shown chemo does not affect the unborn. Is this not true? If it is true, why would the mother refuse chemo?

  2. The article doesn't give many details. I'm guessing many doctors inform patients that chemo could harm unborn children despite recent studies.