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Letter from Lawrence M. Gartner, Wyler Children's Hospital to Margaret Heckler, United States Department of Health and Human Services pdf (103,824 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Lawrence M. Gartner, Wyler Children's Hospital to Margaret Heckler, United States Department of Health and Human Services
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (103,824 Bytes)
1983-03-16 (March 16, 1983)
Gartner, Lawrence M.
Wyler Children's Hospital
Heckler, Margaret
United States Department of Health and Human Services
Reproduced with permission of Lawrence M. Gartner.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Ethics, Medical
Disabled Children
Refusal to Treat
Exhibit Category:
Congenital Birth Defects and the Medical Rights of Children: The "Baby Doe" Controversy
Box Number: 24
Folder Number: 12
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Sequential Files
SubSeries: March 1983
March 16, 1983
Dear Secretary Heckler:
The implementation of the interim final rule on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, known generally as the Baby Doe rule is extremely disturbing to me as Director of a Children's Hospital and as a physician who has cared for handicapped and critically ill infants for 25 years now.
I am disturbed by being mandated to place a sign in my hospital which carries the implication that I or anyone in my hospital would starve a handicapped child or fail to give optimal care. We have never practiced such an act and would never permit such to occur. The placing of a sign as required by the regulation will only serve to increase the anxiety of parents that such action might be occurring and will lead to distrust of our hospital and its personnel. It is a sign which is, in fact, destructive to our attempts to provide the best medical care available anywhere and to assure the families that this is the case. The sign will also encourage the meddlesome and uninformed who are present in every hospital to use this as a device to interfere with the daily activities of the hospital, costing the hospital much time, effort and money. We have no excess of any of these to spare, especially these days. There are many existing mechanisms in the law to protect against such activities and to provide assurance that any illegal or unethical act will be brought to the attention of the appropriate authorities, especially in a teaching hospital such as ours.
I am certain that your intentions in this regulation are most laudable, but I am fearful that the results will be exactly the reverse. Extension of time before implementation would permit adequate reflection on the usefulness of this regulation and might well lead to the development of more effective means to achieve the same goal of better care for the handicapped infant and child.
Thank you very much for considering this request.
Lawrence M. Gartner, M.D.
Professor and Chairman
Wyler Children's Hospital
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