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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ultrasound exams as evidence

From today's Miami Herald-

When witnesses told police a baby was born alive and later died at a Hialeah abortion clinic, Miami-Dade prosecutors found themselves trying to determine when a fetus becomes a viable baby.

If the fetus found at the clinic was at 22 weeks of gestation, as the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner believes, healthcare experts say the decision is a fairly easy one. The fetus wasn't viable.

Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Hoague said her office is still gathering evidence in the case, including two sonograms done on the mother before the baby was born.

''There are lots of questions that medically I don't have the answer to yet,'' Hoague said. ``You're talking about a fetus that could be aborted legally.''

A witness told police that someone at the clinic put the baby on the roof of the building when police first searched for it, casting suspicion on the whole incident.

''They hid the body from us for eight days,'' Hialeah police Deputy Chief Mark Overton said.

Hialeah police are pushing for indictments. They say the clinic staff should have called 911 and sent the baby -- a girl -- to the hospital.

''This has to be a homicide, an unlawful killing. It could be manslaughter, but we believe it falls in that realm,'' Overton said.

Prosecutors aren't so sure.

Hoague plans to present the evidence to medical experts to determine if the fetus was viable. But it will be at least several weeks before a determination can be made.
I hate to be the breaker of bad news but Ms. Hoague has to be finding out that ultrasounds aren't the most reliable evidence as to a baby's weeks of gestation. She just needs to read this.

Usually the expected date of delivery (EDD or EDC) is calculated from your last menstrual period if the early dating scan calculates the EDD to be within 5 days of the EDD from you last menstrual period.

The EDD from the early dating scan is used if the last menstrual period is not known or is unreliable, or the dating scan differs from the last menstrual period dating by more than 5 days.

As the baby gets bigger, they start to express their individual growth potential. The size of the baby correlates less and less with its age as time goes on. Utrasound examinations from 12 to 22 weeks are regarded as being within 10 days of accuracy (or up to 10 days earlier or 10 days later than the woman's calculated due date).

Ultrasounds performed after 22 weeks gestation cannot be used to estimate the due date of the baby because the size no longer reflects the age very well. Even average babies can differ by up to 2 to 3 “weeks of growth”. These scans are only used to estimage the due date of your baby if this is all you have to go on. If you have more than one ultrasound during your pregnancy, giving you 'multiple dates', then the earliest ultrasound estimate should be used, because it will be more accurate.

A baby is viable at 24 weeks, but the odds of an infant that premature dying are still high. My son Daniel was born at 28 weeks and lived just 14.5 hours.

I'm Catholic, the father of a prematurely born boy and not a fan of abortion, but this investigation and possible prosecution are way off base. If charges are brought, I'll give the appropriate people one of my knucklehead awards.

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