On April 9th, 1982, a baby boy was born at a hospital in Bloomington, Indiana. The little guy had a couple of “problems” that made him all the more special: Down’s syndrome and a birth defect in his throat that made eating food impossible. The first problem couldn’t be reversed, of course, but the second could through a surgical process that even back then was about 90% effective.
Incredibly, the primary doctor, a Walter Owens, felt the boy’s Downs made his life not worth living and advised the parents to withhold the surgery and let “nature take its course.” (It should be noted that two other doctors at the hospital disagreed and advised he be transferred to a hospital in Indianapolis to receive the life-saving surgery.) The parents sided with Owens.
A six-day struggle (this was one mighty little dude) to stay alive on his own ensued.
Jeffrey Lyon, a reporter, investigated the case and wrote a book entitled “Playing God in the Nursery.” From his interviews and investigation of medical records, he described the fourth day of the boy’s post-natal life.
‘He was crying from hunger, and his lips were parched from dehydration. His ribs were sticking out, the result of respiratory strain caused by the tracheoesophageal fistula. That afternoon, when the stomach acid started corroding his lungs, he had begun to spit blood.”
Meanwhile, hundreds of parents around the country volunteered to adopt the baby and a legal case to defend the life of the boy–now named “Infant Doe”– was quickly marshaled. It made it all the way to the Supreme Court in record time … only to have the judges refuse to review it.
The heroic six-day struggle by the little guy ended on Tax Day (how appropriate). Cause of death? “…chemical pneumonia, due to the regurgitation of his own stomach acid.”
And there you have it: a prophetic snapshot of the abyss that has opened up beneath our country and much of the world as we have chosen to reject God and His ways … and opted instead for doing what seems right in our own eyes.
If your heart has been touched by this remembrance, I challenge you to not only pass this along, but to take three-minutes and listen to this wonderfully anointed song by my friend and fellow campus-outreacher Bob Ayala. And then pray.
And very likely it will be with tears.