Hospital Bullies: Doctors Try To Berate Mom Into Giving Up On Her Unborn Twin Sons

Hers is an incredible story of heartbreak and hope, tragedy and triumph, fear and courage, weakness and strength—and for anyone who has ever fought for the lives of someone they love, or has a heart and blood and sinew and an ounce of human in them, pregnant blogger Diana Stone’s quest to save the twin boys in her belly, despite a hospital’s insistence that she let them die, will make you want to slap somebody and then fall to your knees in prayer for her and her babies.

Just last week, Diana, who’s been chronicling her pregnancy on Babble’s “Being Pregnant” blog, revealed that her water had broken and she was in danger of losing her sons. At the recommendation of her doctors, she and her husband agreed that because she faced a significant chance of infection that could take her life, it would be best to induce the twins. The decision had dire consequences: her sons would not be viable at 18 weeks. They would not survive.

Later, though, Diana changed her mind. There was a small chance that if her leak sealed and she was able to keep her babies in her belly for at least six more weeks, they might live. And so she made the equally tough decision to put her own life at risk for the sake of trying to save her sons. She tweeted to family, friends, and those who follow “Being Pregnant” and her personal blog, Hormonal Imbalances:

We changed our minds. We chose not to induce. I can’t make a decision like this when they’re alive. I’m going to fight & try & give my all—

And if God chooses to take them he will in his time and I’ll know I did my very best to hold on. It’s all I can do.

Though far from enviable, her choice to do what she felt was best for her body, her babies and her family is admirable to many, and prayers and support poured in from all corners of the blogosphere. But her choice was soundly blasted by doctors at University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, who questioned her religious beliefs, told her she was taking up an expensive medical bed for nothing, and refused to do what they could to help her keep her babies in her belly, like provide an IV, keep her in a tilted bed, or put in orders for mandatory bed rest. Her treatment, as Tweeted from her handle @lifeasaSAHM and chronicled on Babble’s Stroller Derby, was nothing short of ridiculously disturbing:

Omg. Shaking I’m so angry. Was woken up by an MD who told me basically I’m an idiot taking up an expensive hospital bed and need to go home.

I can’t believe they want to send me home like this. Or they can’t fathom why we want to try. And have to continually tell me.

The MD just told DH, “I know how pregnant ladies are. I don’t know who told her those babies will make it.” I WANT TO KILL HIM.

Still arguing. About our beliefs now. Perfect. Let’s mock our religious choices and call me hysterical.

My God—seriously, what’s wrong with people? On what planet is it ever okay to dismiss a woman’s right to make medical decisions about her body and the life inside her? Or label her “hysterical” for betting against the odds and defending her right to do so? Babble’s Katherine Stone hit it right on the money when she put out a call to moms across the blogosphere to phone, Tweet, Facebook and email University Medical Center to demand its doctors lay off the insults and do their jobs: “This is not just a fight for Diana. This is a fight for all women,” Stone wrote. “We deserve compassion and respect. I have been on the receiving end of doctors who minimized my feelings and concerns. Who thought I was just hysterical. I know what it feels like, and I wasn’t even fighting for the lives of my children. Whether it’s pregnancy, or cancer, or mental health, or any other medical concern, we demand to be heard.  We deserve to be treated with dignity.”

Dignity, indeed.

To be clear: my support for Diana’s choice is not about taking an anti-abortion stance or adopting some bizarre, no-hold’s-barred Rick Santorum-esque demand that women birth babies, no matter the risk to their own lives or the consequences that come when such radical decisions are made. Though I am anti-abortion for me, I fully support a woman’s right to choose when and how she will become a mother. But even more, I am pro-woman and support an end to the sexist, racist, money-hungry medical industry that puts profits over patients and always seems to make quick work of coldly, callously treating women like dollar signs—too dumb to be given even a modicum of decency, kindness or respect—rather than human beings. I’ve got stories (see my piece, Birthing While Black). We all do.

But here is where the power of the blogosphere comes in. After a barrage of calls, texts, posts on the Hearts For Diana Facebook page, Tweets and prayers from moms across the country, University Medical Center’s doctors apologized to Diana and vowed to do everything they could to save her and her unborn twins. There is no guarantee that they will live, and Diana still is uncertain of what will happen to her and her babies. But at the very least, she and her boys are finally getting the treatment—and dignity—they deserve. It’s just a shame that it took a zillion passionate moms—bloggers, friends, every day women—to get it. Diana, her twins and the rest of her family are in the MyBrownBaby family’s prayers. God bless them.

[Photo credit: Diana Stone of Hormonal Imbalances]

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

10 Comments

  1. Wow. Unbelieveable. But look at the power of passion and women standing together! Prayers are up for that family. May they have the strength to continue to stand in faith…

  2. This is amazing. The strength of a woman knows no limits. Diana should be praised for such selflessness, not humiliated. I’m glad to see women nationwide stand together regardless of our individual beliefs (pro choice/pro life, etc). It seems like for awhile Women’s Rights have been under attack in the US and this is a nice stand in protest. Doctors telling her she’s hysterical??! I AM OVER THE “don’t let her near the button” mentality like we can’t have an opinion without it being blamed on hormones.

    Way to go Babble readers and way to go Denene for sharing the update!

  3. Wow!!!! Unbelievable! Thank God for the kindness and compassion of others. As a medical professional, this is appalling! I will continue to pray for her, her babies and the rest of the family. Thanks MBB for sharing this!

    ~Smart & Sassy Mom

  4. As woman and second time around expectant mommy, I support Diana and her right to fight for her babies 100%! How dare anyone who took an oath to do everything in their power to save a life be so disgusting?! Prayers to Diana and her babies.

  5. We are working to do more to support Diana during this stressful time. If you see oft, please share: http://wosushi.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/social-media-for-good-how-can-you-help/

  6. Safiya'smommy

    Thank you for this post……I am not in the US of A, I live in The Bahamas. But, I send a prayer up for Diana and her two miracles……because in their life, they will indeed be destined for greatness!!

    I lost one of my twin girls at 24 weeks…..at that time, my OBGYn was adamant that I make a decision about birthing the living baby….and I stood firm……as long as she was surviving, I wanted her to determine her own destiny. He insisted, wanted to schedule a C-section for delivery…..I told him, I’d come to the office to see him once a week for monitoring, did blood tests once a week for assurance, but I wasnt budging.

    I went home and prayed…..without ceasing.

    My DD was born 7 weeks early….my water broke….but i was satisfied that it was her fate that determined her desire to be in the world….at 5lbs 4oz, we both left the hospital the next day after a normal delivery. (i carried the other baby around until that time) But now, at almost 6 years old, I couldnt have asked for a more strong willed, determined young lady…..

    Be encouraged, hold firm, and keep the faith Diana.

    God knows all things!

  7. I am not a woman but I do support her in her choice it is up to her to do what she wants yiu fight on my sister my prayers are with you and your twins, all of you will make it.

    Bernard

  8. As a Labor and Delivery nurse I have seen this happen not with the physicians bullying Moms who break their waters early on like this but with INSURANCE companies who refuse to pay for anything to help save the pregnancy. We rotated to our high risk perinatal unit and when this happened it was heartbreaking. Our docs NEVER did anything like what she experienced.. It is horrifying and I would hope her nurses were more caring and compassionate. With twins, unless BOTH bags have ruptured (or they are both in one sac, which brings up a host of potential complications) the other twin stands a better chance of making it to term. The body continually makes amniotic fluid. I hope the leak seals over and all goes well. Keep them in there as long as possible!! Praying for you!!

  9. Blessing Diana to stand strong! I and my baby were diagnosed with a disease with a high mortality rate. The doctors wanted to do a very risky invasive procedure. I asked for a non invasive approach, got regular non invasive tests, paid attention, and took responsibility. I prayed and had faith. I went to a medical library and researched the latest information on the disease and then went back to the hospital and ‘updated’ their information. What we know is constantly changing! In two years the mortality data for this disease changed from 80% to 10% risk! I told them how I wanted to be cared for, and for the rest of the pregnancy, I saw an in- hospital high risk doctor, a in-hospital midwife, and an out-of-hospital midwife. After months of verbal abuse from the high risk doctor, I was grateful when the baby got a clean bill of health. I delivered at home. My son is now 19 years old. NO medical test can predict results 100%. Every test has its limits to its validity. Ask! Know what to look for. Stand firm and do everything you can. Do not turn your health or your children’s health blindly over to statistics.

  10. When my water broke, I was gushing water every few minutes, and I didn’t want to introduce anything into my uterus that would speed up the risk of infection. The nurse literally forced me to lay down and inserted two q-tips in me to test to see if what was coming out actually tested as amniotic fluid. I was intimidated by the nurse that seemed more like a pirate, but never again. MY body, my choice.

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