Human Rights

Mother works to change law after premature twins were denied life-saving care

In June 2017, Amanda Finnefrock helplessly watched her newborn twins Emery and Elliot die as medical professionals refused to aid them. Now she is working with an Ohio state senator on legislation to help protect future premature children.

At just 22 weeks and two days gestation, Finnefrock went into premature labor with the boys, but after arriving at the hospital, she was assured, in writing, that if she could make it to 22 weeks and five days before giving birth, the staff at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, would assess and help the boys.

Finnefrock did make it to 22 weeks and five days, but despite this, her boys were left unaided. They were moving, breathing, and even crying. Yet none of the doctors or nurses stepped in to help. Watch the heartbreaking video below:

 

 

In an article for Save the 1, Finnefrock pointed out that her children aren’t the only preemies whom doctors have refused to help.

Baby Bridon was denied assessment and medical assistance when he was born at 23 weeks and two days in Wisconsin. In July 2005, The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in the case of Preston v Meriter that the hospital that refused to screen Bridon violated the federal Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act.

Though the statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Ohio has passed and Finnefrock did not sue the hospital as Bridon’s family did, she is still hoping to make a change so no other parent or child has to go through what she, her husband, and her boys did.

READ: Premature girls born at 22 weeks are among the youngest sets of twins to survive

“I want to spread awareness and create change through legislative efforts to make sure that no child suffers in the manner that my sons did,” Finnefrock wrote at Save The 1. “I am working with a state senator on Emery and Elliot’s legislation here in Ohio, and I now work to get two other bills introduced and passed here in Ohio as well: Simon’s Law (so doctors cannot place a DNR – Do Not Resuscitate – order on a child without parental consent) and the Good Faith Medical Act (so hospitals must inform patients of their futility policies in advance).”

In the U.K., doctors recently moved the age of viability (when a child can survive outside the womb) for some preborn children from 24 weeks to 22 weeks, noting that 1/3 of the children born at that age survive when provided intervention. Ruben and Jenson Powell were a set of twins who were born in the U.K. at just 22 weeks and six days — one day further along than Emery and Elliot. Because doctors stepped in to help them, they have become the youngest surviving premature twin boys in Britain and are thriving.

“Emery and Elliot deserved a chance at life, as does every human being on this earth,” wrote Finnefrock. “Please join me in advocating for these children! You never know when this could be your child or your grandchild.”

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