In his book, "How Doctor's Think", Dr Jerome Groopman describes an ultrasound doctor, who detects in a baby, inside a woman 5 weeks from giving birth, a strange shaped space inside the baby's brain which should look like a tear-drop with sharp edges, but just doesn't look quite right. Not badly wrong, but just not quite right. Because the shape is pretty near normal, she almost doesn't tell the mother. Two things change her mind. She wants to protect any obstetrician from being charged with causing damage to a baby, should it turn into something significant... and she also thinks parents should know in advance in case they need to consider the realities of bringing up a damaged child. The mother has an MRI, and a brain haemorrhage in the baby is discovered, so the birth is attended by paediatric neurologists.
And that's all he says. Groopman doesn't say whether the birth is a caesarian or vaginal, but I would imagine in USA, it would be an automatic caesarian.
What is important to me about this incident, is not what the doctor who analysed the ultrasound thought, but what wasn't thought about. To be fair to Groopman, the focus of his thinking, was probably just the fact that the radiologist was careful, and saw something vague, which he considered that most others might have ignored.
The wider issues which weren't in his brief, are:
Why is it, that a 35-week baby, in utero, had a brain haemorrhage? How many babies have brain haemorrhages in utero? How many babies get brain haemorrhages as a result of mother's squeezing them out of narrow vaginas? After all, when you see how the brain plates overlap, squeeze and shape the head into a torpedo, you wonder what goes on inside, don't you? What might weaken a baby and cause haemorrhages in the brain?
Had the doctor missed, or dismissed that 35-week brain haemorrhage, what might have happened to that mother, months later?
Picture this somewhat different theoretical crystal ball scenario:
The ultrasound anomaly is dismissed, and the mother swans into early labour at 35 weeks, oblivious to the fact that her baby has a brain haemorrhage, and that one in three babies born naturally, have intracranial haemorrhages. No-one asks the question as to why this woman has gone into labour early. She has a vaginal delivery, with the standard obstetric malpractice of Immediate Cord Clamping, for which USA is renowned. And which is KNOWN to result in intracranial haemorrhages!
(Best website in world on cord clamping is http://www.cordclamping.info/publications/publications.htm)
This mother doesn't know that most doctors don't think about the fact that babies born early (or even at term) can be born with Intracranial haemorrhages. This mother also thinks her general health is fine, and wants to do the right thing, so the baby is breastfed. This provaccine mother, is going to have all vaccines of course, so gets the first ones.
Baby gets a cold, and is given antibiotics, which napalms the gut flora which makes vitamin K and B. The baby gets thrush, which is hit with fungicide. And the baby's gut doesn't quite get back all those good microbiome which help the baby make vitamins and absorb nutrients.
After the next vaccine, the same thing happens. Another cold, another course of antibiotics, more antifungals are administered. Still ... no-one asks any questions about either the baby or mother's baseline health.
This time the gut microbiome, stays abnormal, but no-one knows, because most doctors don't know that using antibiotics can result in permanent gut flora changes for the worse. Unfortunately the proof of that comes in adults. Researchers haven't even started to look at the implications for babies.
Therefore the parents don't know that, like an increasing number of babies these days, undetected intracranial haemorrhage at birth, could partly result from this good little mother, staying out of the sun as much as possible. The doctor probably told her to do so. "You don't want to get cancer, do you?" To compound this, the mother may have tended to eat good old junk food comprised mainly of white bread, sugar, sweets, cakes, biscuits with a minimum of real food, which means she isn't getting much vitamin K, B, (etc) or mineral anything, for herself either, let alone enough to build a solid healthy baby then breast feed him or her. This mother doesn't realise that junk food sets her baby up for complications in the newborn period.
This mother also doesn't realise that her baby has "nowhere else to go" but breastmilk, from a mother unaware that her still nutrient low diet, isn't enough to give the baby all it needs at a time when it's growing so fast. So the baby's clotting factors start to go a bit screwy... and the baby's bones aren't laying down collagen and minerals quite as they should be. The baby gets no vitamin K from the gut bacteria napalmed by antibiotics, and very little from Mum, and where's the vitamin D? How are the minerals supposed to attach to the collagen forming the bone? Mum doesn't eat much stuff with vitamin C either, so the collagen isn't laid down well ..., and.. that intracranial haemorrhage hasn't healed as it should with the edges starting to go fuzzy again. A re-bleed is just beginning again... ....
Along comes the third vaccine series, with a fever; crying; another cold starts; but this time, other things go horribly wrong as well. Constant high pitched crying; clenched fists; arching the back in the cot and when held; the head looks a bit funny ... the baby won't settle and is very "different" and "difficult" ... and then one day, the baby stops breathing.
And of course, it has "nothing" to do with the vaccines!! But, in reality, the three vaccines have been triggers, which let go the "malnutrition bullets" with ever increasing force, compounded by the use of antibiotics destroying crucial gut flora. These parents didn't realise that junk food is JUNK, and antibiotics are very dangerous, and that the combination can be really serious. These parents will also be told that the illnesses after vaccines were also coincidental. Worse, many in the medical profession have yet to join any of these dots, and therefore don't look at mothers diets, the effects of antibiotics or vaccines.
Dutiful puzzled parents perform the baby CPR they were taught at antenatal class, and rush the baby to the hospital, only to find that within an hour, they are surrounded by police, and social workers, because the baby has intracranial haemorrhages, retinal haemorrhages and one of the two parents must have severely bashed up that baby.
This is... the only reason we see intracranial haemorrhages ... isn't it?
When body scans show what looks like healing fractures of all different ages on the ribs; a couple of bucket handle fractures, old and new haemorrhages on the brain, as well as what looks like skull fractures (but with no depressions) and a broken shoulder acromium, the prosecution decibel levels crank up, maintaining that all this multi-timed abuse must have been going on regularly, since birth! Haemorrhages and "fractures" are by the medical system's definition - always the parents' fault.
And the jury ASSUMES THAT the medical system know everything.
DOCTORS love people far too much to - actually - in their state of ignorance - ... be telling a whole lot of lies!!!
Police, social workers and lawyers, do the "divide and rule", trying to get either parent to incriminate each other, with the police and coroners getting behind the medically cloned thinking and dogma, to identify the motive for murder by both parties.
And get pissy when the extended family have nothing useful to say. Perhaps the family have nothing useful to say, because the prosecution case makes no sense to them; they saw nothing like what is being insinuated; and don't know anything apart from the fact that none of them did it.
In order to make the case look water-tight, the medical system gets as many of their mates to give the same testimony to the court and the coroner. After all, "we must be realistic and protect these babies - New Zealand has such a bad record with beating babies, - and there are lots of criminal parents out there who abuse their babies, so it's about time they all got their just deserts."
And if a few medical professionals disagree with the rest of the system, the system tries to crucify the dissenting colleagues, as well as the parents.
There are very real dangers to parents from doctors whose thinking is framed by not just what they THINK they know, but by the FACT that they don't REALISE there's a huge amount they don't know.
In Groopman's book, that mother was very lucky her "future" was protected by an observant radiologist wishing to protect the professional career of a fellow obstetrician.
I would have liked to have seen Groopman ask the logical questions and take that a step further, because the answers to WHY the baby had a haemorrhage, is as important an issue, as the fact that a radiologist picked up something most others would have missed.
The answers could have been elaborated on, with the mother thoroughly tested for vitamin D, K: decreased bone density found; the mothers total nutrition gone over with a fine tooth comb with it's flaws exposed...., because babies in utero, don't "just" get intracranial haemorrhages. As another facet of how doctors think, the baby's entire future life, with the solutions to those problems, could have been laid out as a teaching lesson for both parents and doctors.
What Groopman missed (and how could he have known anyway) is that while there is no doubt some parents and people batter babies, ..... many parents who land up in jail for supposedly battering their babies, consistently maintain they did nothing to their children, and it is quite possible that they are right.
The REASON some of those parents land up in jail, is because they cannot provide the proof this mother could have used, in Groopman's book, to prove that the problem was there from before birth.
What is preventive medical care when it comes to defining whether a mother and baby in utero are actually healthy? Just as "counting a baby's toes and fingers" is a meaningless assessment of good internal health, so is casting your eye over a mother, and assuming because she can walk, smile and talk, and the baby appears to be growing, she and the baby have to be healthy.
As the article in the Herald about lousy nutrition in pregnancy shows, some doctors are only just getting their heads around just how dangerous bad nutrition in pregnancy is. Which is ironic, when you consider that many lay writers were scorned by the medical system forty plus years ago for writing about nutrition in pregnancy, and warning about some of these issues.
The problem is that the consequences to parents and their babies, of their own lack of understanding about vitamin and mineral deficiencies in pregnancy, and the medical system's parallel ignorance, can be tragic - not just to them, but for future generations as well.