A recent Drivetime report on RTÉ radio made a powerful case for perinatal hospice as an alternative to abortion and is well worth listening to if you missed it first time around.
Two mothers featured on the Every Life Counts website were interviewed about their love and loss, and, along with Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute, they emphasised the importance of every life and the pressing need to establish Perinatal Hospice Care in every maternity hospital in Ireland.
This care would ensure every mother gets the best of care when their unborn child receives a diagnosis that they have a severe abnormality or are terminally ill and may not live for very long after birth.
Both Clíona and Grace received such diagnoses for their unborn babies.
At the 22 week scan Clíona’s unborn baby John Paul was diagnosed with anencephaly, and Clíona and her family got to spend 17 minutes with John Paul. Cliona said “while it was such a short time, it’s memories that are etched in my heart forever…and so he just slipped away so peacefully.”
Grace’s baby Lilly was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 also known as Edwards Syndrome. Lilly got to spend 4 hours of precious moments with her parents before passing away. Grace pointed out that not all mothers received the care they required during this time, and that it was very upsetting for mothers to meet with insensitive remarks about their unborn children.
Both these conditions are regarded by some as “incompatible with life”. This however is not a medical diagnosis as these babies can sometimes live for many weeks, months even years after birth. There is one such case in Co. Limerick where as a baby Elaine Fagan was diagnosed with Edward Syndrome or Trisomy 18 and she lived for 25 years!
Currently many of the maternity hospitals are ill equipped to provide consistent care to these families. Hence the need for Perinatal Hospice Care across the country in every maternity hospital. Specialist Staff such as Bereavement Midwives, Special Counsellors and Chaplains need to be made available to enable families to have the gift of time with their children.
As highlighted on RTÉ’s Drivetime report, Every Life Counts is running a campaign for Perinatal Hospice services in every Irish Maternity hospital. All families deserve to be able to make the most of every minute with their babies, especially when time is short. Please help them by signing their petition to the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, see www.everylifecounts.ie/petition
I encourage you all to please check out the Every Life Counts website: www.everylifecounts.ie there you will be able to read and watch beautiful videos of families sharing their stories. You can listen to the Perinatal Hospice Drivetime report, Wednesday 27th November 2013 on RTÉ’s Radio 1 Player
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