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Doctor To Let Patient's Baby Defective Die
Mother Approves Refusal to Prolong the Life of Deformed Infant.
NOT AFRAID OF LAW.
Nature has blundered at the German-American hospital, 819 Diversey Parkway. The error is a malformed baby, which, if it lived, would grow to be a mental, and perhaps a moral defective. Death will be nature's means of righting its mistake.
Dr. H.J. Haiselden, chief of the hospital staff, will allow the baby to die. He will not aid or hasten nature toward the inevitable fatality. His role is that of onlooker.
The baby was born on Friday. A simple surgical operation at birth would have insured its life. The same simple operation now would assure life for the infant. But the surgeon declines to perform this operation. The baby's mother is satisfied. She has given her consent to the infant's death, which is expected to occur in forty-eight hours.Other Children Healthy
The baby is the son of Allen and Mrs. Anna Bollinger of 2013 Fletcher street. Mr. Bollinger is repair foreman at the Lincoln avenue car barns at Sheffield avenue. He and his wife have three other children -- Ida, aged 6; Gilbert, 4, and Margaret, 2, all fine, healthy children. The last baby -- the baby doomed to die -- was born after its mother had been seriously ill with typhoid fever. The doctor thinks this fact accounts for its deformity.
Dr. Haiselden boldly champions the right for physicians to snuff out the lives of babies born deformed or with the stigma of imbecility upon them. He not only thinks this is the right of physicians, but a duty they owe to the future. He believes in upbuilding the race by allowing only the fit to survive.Holds Advanced Views
Dr. Haiselden stands at the edge of a problem big with the fate of humanity and the future. He comes out openly and advocates death for defective children, sterilization for imbeciles, and euthanasia for the hopelessly sick or insane.
"I have no doubt I shall be called a cold blooded murderer for allowing this baby to die," said Dr. Haiselden. "I am prepared for bitter criticism. But its death is a question between me and my conscience. I would not kill the infant. I would not administer poison or take its life by any active surgical means. I shall merely stand by passively and let it die. I will let nature complete its bungled job."Nurse Brings Child In
While Dr. Haiselden talked, a nurse brought in a bundle and laid it on a couch. The doctor turned back the wrappings. A pink bit of humanity lay upon the white cloth. Its blue eyes were wide open. Its hair was brown and silky. It dug at its face with little fists. It cried lustily as it drew up chubby legs and kicked out. It seemed quite vigorously informed with life.
But one noted there were deformities, and the physician explained further the results of an examination which showed the infant inevitably would be a defective.Not Afraid of Law.
"Are you not afraid of the law if you let this baby die?" Dr. Haiselden was asked.
"No," he replied "I am doing what I believe right. I expect censure, but I believe my course will be approved by tens of thousands of thinking men and women. I do not court prosecution. But I am not afraid of it. If there is any law to force a physician to perform an operation when his conscience tells him that operation would be morally wrong, then let them bring the law to bear. To compel a surgeon to perform such an operation against his will would be like forcing a man to be a Mohammedan who wished to be a Methodist.
"I know of no law to which I might possibly be held amenable, unless it be that against criminal neglect. I am sure no jury of sane men would convict me of allowing a child to die who would be a burden to himself and to the community if permitted to live."Many Allowed to Die.
"Do physicians in secret permit deformed and defective children to die a-borning often?" he was asked.
"Not infrequently," Dr. Haiselden replied. "Many a child marked plainly as an idiot or badly deformed has been allowed to die by not tieing the umbilical cord. If the cord, which must be severed at birth, is not tied immediately after, the infant will die of loss of blood. I do not mean to say that children are permitted often to die by their physicians. But such deaths are not infrequent.
"Instead of struggling to save deformed children and those marked plainly for insanity and uselessness," the surgeon continued, "physicians should have only the fit. I have thought over this problem for years.
"There are no defectives among the Japanese. The surgeons of Nippon often fail to tie the umbilical cord. As a result, the Japanese are a wonderfully vigorous race deservedly coming into world prominence.
"I am an advocate of sterilization not only of infants of defective parents, but of criminals and the insane. Infant mortality is unfortunately low in families of epileptics, the partially insane, and those of criminal tendencies.
"Do you number criminals among the insane?"
"They are abnormal. However, I should not advocate their being executed, except in capital cases. I would have all criminals sterilized by law."City Full of Defectives.