Baby Boy Hernandez

Reli 330
Case Report


Important Facts

1.Baby Boy Hernandez is dependent on a respirator. He is barely twenty-five weeks old and weighs less than one pound. He is hypoglycemic and has respiratory distress syndrome and jaundice. He also has an intraventricular hemorrhage. He is malnourished and isn\'t gaining weight.
2.Baby Boy Hernandez\'s bill is close to $125,000. His family has no money and no insurance. In the previous year Memorial Hospital\'s Neonatal Unit lost over $1,000,000.
3.Low birth weight and health problems associated with it are directly linked to prenatal care. Increasing the amount of prenatal care means reducing low birth weights and prematurity.
4.Anita Hernandez smoked heavily throughout her pregnancy. Prenatal smoking leads to children who wheeze more, are more prone to lung infection, and are at a higher risk for asthma. Women who smoke seek prenatal care later than those who don\'t and have a higher probability of low birth weights and higher hospital costs.
5. A way to cut back costs for the hospital is to hire more midwives. More midwives means increased participation in prenatal care, especially among the poor and rural populations.
6. One in four pregnancies of low-income women did not receive adequate prenatal care.
7. Hispanic women start prenatal care later than their white or black counterparts. They also have higher hospital costs.
8.China has started a successful mid-wivery program that has helped the uneducated, rural poor.
9. Hispanic women that seek prenatal care are more likely to be misdiagnosed relative to their weight and nutritional health.
10. The proportion of women who had adverse birth outcomes did not differ significantly by the setting in which they received prenatal care.
Key Moral Concerns/Issues
1. What kind of care should Baby boy Hernandez receive?
2. How can Mary Flemming make her neonatal unit more financially secure?
3. How should you decide where the hospital\'s money spent; which infants deserve care most?
4. What criteria, is any, should be used to decide when a life costs too much to save or when the treatment is disproportionate to the results?
5. Should a child be allowed to die because it\'s parents cannot pay for its care?
6. Should technology be used to save lives that would have otherwise died without it?
7. What can we do, as a society, to prevent this type of situation from happening?
Relevant Principles
1. The Biblical Principle of Justice- this principle calls us to take special care of those in want.
2. Preferential Option for the Poor- it is our duty to share our excess wealth with the poor to ensure they have food, clothing, shelter and health.
3. Solidarity- We must act together and be advocates for the poor.
4. Social Sin- we must fight out tendencies as communities to stop racism, materialism, consumerism, etc.
5. The Sanctity of Human Life- it is our duty to protect human life from deadly harm and injuries inflicted by injustice.
6. Stewardship- God has given us the gift of out bodies and we are responsible for their care.
7. Covenental Duties of Healers- healers are committed to treat the sick to the best of their ability, to offer help, not harm, to treat patients are people, to be faithful, respect the confidentiality of their patients, and honor the right of the patients to be involved in the decision making process about their care.
8. The Moral Autonomy of Patients- as mentioned above in Stewardship, patients are committed to reasonably care for themselves.
9. The Ordinary/Extraordinary Means Distinction- Every possible option for survival does not have to be offered and accepted.
10. The Principle of Proxy Consent and Infants- consent on behalf of an incompetent person must be made in their best interests.
11. Health care- Catholic theologians argue that everyone has a right to basic healthcare.
I think that the decision about how much care to provide baby boy Hernandez will ultimately be up to his mother. She is the one that will have to provide consent for his treatments since he cannot. Because she is the one that will have to choose, the hospital staff needs to make available to her all the relevant facts about his case. They need to tell her what he costs will be, what the possible and probable outcomes are, and what her options are. They especially need to make her aware about the possibility of her son having permanent physical or mental handicaps because