When Amanda Finnefrock went into early labor, she was promised that her twins would receive “full, aggressive treatment” as long as they were born after 22 weeks and 5 days gestation. She delivered the babies after that time, but the hospital nevertheless refused to provide any assessment or intervention. Instead of transferring the babies to the neonatal intensive care unit, hospital nurses just sat by and watched as the babies gasp for breath. Emery struggled to breathe for 45 minutes. The second baby, Elliott, was born just minutes later. He kicked and screamed for more than two and half hours before he too died. Amanda begged the hospital staff to help, but they did nothing. All Amanda could do was tell her babies how sorry she was that she could not help them.
Amanda later filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Life Legal followed up with HHS and briefed the Department on the practice of some hospitals to deny life sustaining care to children born prematurely and/or who have serious disabilities. We filed additional complaints on behalf of parents, including Amanda, who had to watch their babies die because hospitals refused to provide medical treatment to their “micro-preemies,” that is babies born before 25 weeks gestation.
On September 25, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure that hospitals provide appropriate medical care and screening for premature babies.