Pregnant Woman Neglected At Florida State Hospital

In December, a week or so before Christmas, staff at Florida State Hospital refused to believe a woman when she told them she was going into labor. The headline in The Miami Herald runs, Florida hospital ignores pregnant mental patient’s pleas, and tragedy ensues.

Held against her will at Florida’s largest state mental hospital, and fearing that she was about to give birth, a 34-year-old woman became so frantic in her efforts to get medical care that she called 911, twice. “There’s nobody here that can help me right now, and I’m pregnant,” she said.

She was reported to have pregnancy induced hypertension making any delivery risky in the first place. Her baby was born with brain damage, and he is on life support.

But she was, indeed, in labor. And her son was born hours later with profound brain damage. He remains on a ventilator, perhaps permanently.

A number of hospital employees have been discharged over this incident.

After the baby’s birth, DCF either launched or cooperated with several investigations of the incident, Follick said. DCF’s internal investigation resulted in the discipline of four department employees: Licensed Practical Nurse Kathryn Cottle was placed on administrative leave on May 24 and given notice of intent to dismiss her; caregiver Eddie McMillian was fired on March 13; Rosalee Peckoo, a doctor, was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 16 and returned to her position May 24; caregiver Maryland Clopton resigned on Feb. 1.

The hospital administrator, Diane James, before the incident occurred had announced her intention to resign, and she has done so.

The woman name was not released to the press due to her civil commitment.

Hospital nursing staff thought this woman was not so far along in her pregnancy as she apparently was, and they dismissed her pleas for help as premature and delusive.

Psychiatric Drugs Harm Unborn Children

Recreational drug use is contraindicated during pregnancy. Duh! Well, the same is true for psychiatric drugs. A new study has shown not only many adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs in children, but that when used by expectant mothers, some of the most commonly used psychiatric drugs caused birth defects. This study was covered in a PsychCentral article, Psychiatric Medication Risk in Children.

“A range of serious side effects such as birth deformities, low birth weight, premature birth, and development of neonatal withdrawal syndrome were reported in children under two years of age, most likely because of the mother’s intake of psychotropic medication during pregnancy,” Associate Professor Lisa Aagard of the University of Copenhagen told ScienceDaily. Aagard and Professor Ebbe Holme Hansard collaborated in studying data from Danish Medicines Agency.

The data from this study has broken down reactions to psychiatric drugs according to the type of drug used.

When the severe side effects were broken down by medication class, the most frequent culprits were psychostimulants in 42% of the cases (medications like Ritalin, used most often for conditions such as ADD and ADHD), antidepressants (31%), and antipsychotics (24%). A smaller number (2.5%) were due to sedatives; these reactions were mostly in infants, and all were serious.

Much discussion has been generated about the screening of young women for postpartum depression. There is a definite downside to such screenings that doesn’t get so much airplay. I don’t think we need to encourage women to harm their children in an effort to keep their own good spirits up. The presumption should be of good health, mental and physical, for any woman expecting a child.

“Psychotropic medications should not be prescribed in ordinary circumstances because this medication has a long half-life. If people take their medication as prescribed it will be a constantly high dosage and it could take weeks for one single tablet to exit the body’s system. Three out of four pregnancies are planned, and therefore society must take responsibility for informing women about the serious risks of transferring side effects to their unborn child,” suggests Aagard.

Birth defects are seldom planned. You can do much to discourage birth defects by keeping your expectant mothers off psychiatric drugs.

Anxiety and depressant treatment drugs tied to premature births

Reuters has released an article on a study of new births in Washington state that showed pregnant women on SSRI antidepressants and benzodiazepines are at a much greater risk for delivering prematurely. This study was published in the December ’09 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Regarding the risk on SSRI antidepressants this study found the following:

Compared with their counterparts not on the medications, these women were nearly five times more likely to deliver prematurely.

Doctors and mental health professions playing up the idea of postpartum depression for the sake of mental health screening would play down these statistics that are, of course, distressing.

Any risks of using the medications during pregnancy need to be balanced against the risks of leaving depression and anxiety disorders untreated.

When this matter of delivering an unhealthy baby is weighed against having a depressed mom, maybe we should go with the depressed mom. The Andrea Yates case, even for moms in the dumps, was the exception rather than the rule.

I want to emphasize that most blue moms don’t kill their kids. Moms who kill their kids have crossed that line between illness and criminality, and sympathy for such moms must be tempered with an understanding of the seriousness of the offense.

If you’ve got a mom to be who’s just really nervous, I suggest you reassure her, and skip the pills.

The information on benzodiazepines was even more disturbing.

Among women who were not on any medication, 9 percent gave birth prematurely, versus nearly half of women on benzodiazepines.

The study also showed that more babies from mothers using either drugs had birth defects associated with premature delivery.

Antidepressants and Pregnancy Are A Bad Mix

Antidepressant drugs, as with other chemistry changing agents, and pregnancy are not a good combination. We should be very cautious when it comes to prescribing pills to women with unborn children. The danger of a women developing post-partum depression and harming her children is not nearly as great as is the danger of a woman on prescribed drugs having a premature or defective baby. The incidence of post-partum depression is one thing, and the incidence of any such depression leading to a woman harming her children has to be really quite rare. Here’s another statistic to raise a few red flags for you. Researchers in the USA have found women in treatment for depression at 3x the risk for having a preterm delivery.

Pregnant women with a history of depression who used psychiatric medication have triple the risk of premature child delivery, U.S. researchers found.

Researchers at the University of Washington, University of Michigan and Michigan State University found that a combination of medication use and depression — either before or during pregnancy was strongly linked to delivery before 35 weeks’ gestation.

Lead author Amelia Gavin of the University of Washington said the findings highlight the need for carefully planned studies that can clarify associations between depression, psychiatric medications and preterm delivery.

Some women may have a difficult time making that transition from being the center of attention to playing a more subordinant role. We don’t need to jeopardize the lives and health of children because this happens to be the case. When that pregnancy test comes back positive, when she begins to show signs, it’s not the right time to place her on a regimen of antidepressant drugs, or any sort of drugs for that matter. The safety and well being of her child must come before all else.

Having Children and Family Histories Of Mental Illness

Should people not have children because of a family history of mental illness? Such is the issue raised in a recent MSN News article, Family mental health history shadows future children.

Not having children was the decision one Irish American Boston area author, Patrick Tracey, had made due the mental illness of his 2 older sisters, his mother and his grandmother. Mr. Tracey believes he has traced his family’s mental illness to a town in Ireland. He seems to think that due to this history having children would be a symptom of mental illness in his case.

For most, the chance of developing schizophrenia or bipolar disorder is only around 1 percent, but for those with a close relative with the disorder, such as a parent or sibling, the average risk rises to about 10 percent.

Do you ever get the idea some people are over reacting? Even If you have a close relative with the disorder, according to this article, 9 out of 10 of your children are not likely to contract it. That’s 90%. Alright, unless he was going to be a large Victorian style family, he has nothing to worry about. The chance that he’d have a nutzoid kid is rather remote.

Maybe his family is the exception to this rule, but then again, maybe it isn’t.

A lady, Susan Marks, with a couple of mad twin brothers, and her husband, after wrestling with the issue, had decided to go ahead, and let one through. She had a son and a daughter, and thus far no looney birds whatsoever. Another lady, Valerie Koeber, had a mother and brother who suffered from bouts with depression and sic schizophrenia. 1 of her 2 sons is battling drug addiction, depression, and anxiety related issues.

According to this news article, A 2008 Australian study found that 35% of those people from families with a strong family history of bipolar disorder are completely unwilling or less willing to have children as a result.

A 2006 study in the American Journal of Medical Genetics found that nearly half of people with a relative suffering from psychosis mistakenly believed the risk their children would inherit the disease was much higher than it actually was — and they were less likely to have children as a result.

Given a 1 in 10 chance of a seriously mentally ill kid, you’ve got a 5 in 10 chance of an over reaction among potential parents. These are interesting statistics, are they not?

Some therapists question the notion that having an elevated risk of mental illness should be a deterrent to parenthood, compared with having a family history of a physical disease.

Some therapists have my thumbs up.

When some of the research going on today is directed toward finding a genetic link to serious mental illness, you’ve got to be a leery of the potential results of this research. For example, imagine a time when parents are given the option of aborting a fetus because of the risk of that fetus developing into an adult with a serious mental illness. This situation is not outside of the realm of possibility. Then consider that as far as we now know 9 out of 10 of these abortions would be mistakes.

Even more critical questions arise over the ethical concerns uncovered by this article. Are, for instance, mad children bad children that should be aborted? These children have no known genetic defects. They are not developmentally different from other children. The disease itself is not likely to develop until late adolescence or early adulthood, if not even later. Many of these mentally ill people will in all likelihood recover their wits after they have lost them. Perhaps we should poll them for their opinions on the subject of euthanasia?

Life has enough obstacles to face without that of being snuffed out entirely from the beginning. Sometimes it’s a good idea not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Flawed Treatment Guidelines Released

The therapeutic state, allied with the pharmaceutical industry, with its public relations, its promotional, and its advertising teams, is busily pushing their product. This time the target audience is expectant but depressed young women.

As a recently released news article would have it:

Pregnant women can be assured that safe treatments are available to treat depression during their maternity malaise, such as “talk therapy” and certain antidepressants, according to updated professional guidelines released last week.

These treatments are safe you say. Really?

The American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued the new guidelines on depression during pregnancy, which are founded on a thorough examination of previous research.

Good enough. Read on.

The use of antidepressants during pregnancy has both pros and cons, said the report. The drugs can provide successful treatment of the pregnant woman’s depression, which has been linked to issues with newborns if left untreated. But, there has also been evidence that antidepressants have been connected to birth defects and reduced birth weights.

Did somebody mention ‘birth defects’!? If these drugs were safe why would they cause ‘birth defects’? I don’t think somebody is giving us the full story, folks. This is more than a slight oversight when you are dealing with unborn children.

Depressed during pregnancy then and, if not aborting the fetus, getting the shock of your life when a child with a physical defect or extreme developmental difficulties comes out. Guess who’s really depressed now!

Expectant mommies, read the fine print, read between the lines, seek third, fourth, fifth opinions, and don’t let this happen to you.

I want to conclude by saying, even if the APA and the ACOG won’t say it, that drug use during pregnancy is bad pre-natal care, and SSRI anti-depressants are drugs that shouldn’t be given to pregnant women.

After the child comes out, you can do what you like, ladies. Just don’t injure your unborn child.