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New Study Reveals Parents are Reversing Harmful Medical Bias

Editor   |   July 24, 2012

Cincinnati, OH (July 24, 2012) – “Incompatible with life.” That was the devastating diagnosis Rhonda and Russell Dennis received the day their daughter, Lilliana was born. Tests confirmed she had Trisomy 18, a chromosomal anomaly with a high fatality rate. 90 percent of babies born with T18 don’t live past the first year. Although the medical community provided no hope, 14-month-old Lilliana is alive and thriving today thanks to her parents’ relentless pursuit to save her life.

The bias of the medical community against Trisomy 18 is striking. Armed with grim statistics, the consensus has been to not intervene and not provide life sustaining treatment. “We were sent home with nothing. Doctors told us we should just ‘let her go,’” Rhonda said. Like the Dennis family, most parents are left feeling helpless, hopeless and alone. However, relying on their own resources, T13 and T18 parents have rallied around one another to provide the vital information, support and encouragement that they were not getting anywhere else.

Now, these parents’ voices are being recognized as the true experts. A new study published this week in the highly accredited pediatric medicine journal, Pediatrics, reveals social networks are trumping the medical establishment. The study is entitled The Experience of Families with Children with Trisomy 13 and 18 in Social Networks. These families are proving to the medical community that their children’s lives, no matter how long, have value and are worthy of care and treatment.

Lillian First Birthday

Rhonda and Russell Dennis credit an online support group for educating them about the heart surgery that saved their daughter’s life. Their guidance also helped the family through the daunting process of finding a doctor willing to perform the surgery. Rhonda and Russell even had to plead their daughter’s case before the hospital ethics committee, asking them this poignant question, “What if it were your daughter?” Rhonda adamantly believes that had it not been for the other T18 parents, Lilliana would not be here today. “If parents don’t know what to push for and what to demand, a lot of times they won’t get it,” she cautions. “Thankfully, we found hope. We met these families and saw their kids doing stuff, interacting, walking and talking.”

Lilliana’s story will be featured on an episode of the TV program Facing Life Head-On airing the week of July 29. Facing Life Head-On is sponsored by Life Issues Institute.


About Facing Life Head-On: Facing Life Head-On is a 30-minute news magazine style program covering topics that are inspirational, thought-provoking and promote awareness of life issues. Broadcasted to over 100 million homes on various television networks, host Brad Mattes covers topics as diverse as adoption, disabilities, abortion and end-of-life care. In 2010, Facing Life Head-On received a Regional Emmy® Award in the category of interview and discussion programs and was recently nominated for three Emmy® Awards to be announced in July 2012.

About Life Issues Institute: Life Issues Institute is dedicated to changing hearts and minds of millions of people through education, the foundation for pro-life political and legislative victories. For over 23 years, organizations and individuals around the world have depended upon Life Issues Institute to provide the latest pro-life information and effective tools to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb.

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