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.