Talk about a rock and a hard place. Parents of a 4-month-old baby with HIV in Minnesota have been given two choices: give their little boy drugs they fear will harm him or lose him entirely.
An easy choice? Maybe for you, but Lindsey Nagel, who passed HIV to her son, took anti-viral medication as a child, and her parents say it almost killed her. Now doctors insist the same drugs be given to her child.
Who do you side with?
On the one hand, medicine has advanced in leaps and bounds in the past 20 years. The anti-viral drugs little Rico is getting are likely very different from those his mom got.
Then again, these parents don't sound neglectful so much as afraid. They've said in court that they'll give the baby his drugs so they don't lose their child, but they'd really like to find alternative treatments ... that the court would approve. And when you're talking about the life of an itty, bitty baby, who can blame them?
But the whole debate brings out a parenting issue we don't often touch on. When does a baby's rights' supersede his (or her) parents' rights to choose what's best for them? Is it only in cases of abuse? Or is there a grey area?
Aren't there good parents who are making the wrong choices for their baby? Like wanting him off life-saving drugs?
Lindsay Nagel and John Martinez don't sound as if they're being callous. They have good reason for not wanting this treatment, and yet they're being treated as if they're abusive parents.
The reason being, of course, that medical professionals are considered by the courts to be more expert in the care of baby with HIV than his parents. And yet, every day parents just trying to do the best that they can have expertise too, don't we? We know our kid. We know how important it is that they be safe and warm and healthy.
So where is the line the parents cross from being good and caring to bad and unable to care for their kid?
Can good parents be unable to care for their own child?
Image via trygve.u/Flickr