Human Rights

Mom in UK: My twins were born breathing at 22 weeks but doctors wouldn’t save them


Lucy Offord, a 20-year-old mother in the United Kingdom, says her twin daughters Autumn Grace and Peyton Rose were born breathing and showing signs of life at 22 weeks and three days, but medical personnel at the hospital refused to save them.

Offord told the UK Sun that the twins “came out perfectly” in May and “were both born breathing and I could see them moving about.” She said, “I pleaded with the doctors to help them. They said they couldn’t do anything and if they had a chance of surviving they would be severely disabled.”

Offord told the Sun that at 13 weeks, she was found to have a “dangerously short cervix,” and doctors could have put in a “stitch” (cerclage) to lessen Offord’s chances of giving birth prematurely. But they didn’t, and she blames doctors, saying they had “two chances” to save her baby girls, and neglected both times to do what was necessary. She said that as the girls’ mother, even though doctors felt her babies were too young to survive, she should have had the right to insist that there be some attempt made to save them, since they showed clear signs of life:

It annoys me that they couldn’t attempt to help them even if they were born breathing. The fact they were born breathing shows they had viability. If they’re born breathing they should be helped. It’s a basic human right.

If someone is 90 and goes into hospital and passes out but is still breathing they’ll be resuscitated. Why shouldn’t a baby?

READ: Parents of miracle twins are fighting to end late-term abortion in the UK

Currently, the legal limit of viability in the UK, according to the Sun, is 24 weeks of pregnancy. Offord believes she was treated poorly because of her age and because it was her first pregnancy. She even had portions of retained placenta which weren’t discovered until two months later, and she had to have emergency surgery.

Thanks to the use of a Cuddle Cot, Offord was able to spend three days with her babies and dress them. A Cuddle Cot is a device that cools a baby’s body temperature for up to three days so that parents have time to grieve and spend time with their babies before they say goodbye.

While Offord blames NHS policies for the horrors she experienced, the NHS has extended an apology of sorts but says, “In line with national guidance, at a gestational age of 22 weeks it is considered in the best interests of the baby for resuscitation not to be carried out as chances of survival without severe long-term problems are so low that active intervention to support life is not recommended.” Other hospitals — like the one in this story, in the US — have come under fire for refusing to assist premature babies whom doctors believe will have low chances of survival or high chances of complications if they do survive.

Many parents, like Lucy Offord, want their children to be given a chance at life.

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