Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent
Program Note: See Dr. Sanjay Gupta's full report on Abbie Dorn tonight on AC360° at 10pm ET.
I am not sure which instinct took over first. When I heard the story of Abbie Dorn, I remember listening with my "head" as a neurosurgeon, and also listening with my "heart" - as a dad. Like you probably will, I thought of Abbie's three children. I have three of my own.
Abbie was young, recently married, and wanting to start a family. It did not happen easily. She underwent IVF, and was finally told she was pregnant. Triplets. It was the most exciting day of her life. Abbie's mother told me all of this, because Abbie cannot. You see, something went terribly wrong during the delivery. There was bleeding, more than two liters. Abbie's heart failed, and for too long her brain went without oxygenated blood.
Abbie survived, but she was left in a state where she can barely move, cannot speak and only blinks her eyes. As you will see as I examine Abbie, it is this blinking that is now at the heart of a bitter legal controversy.
Abbie's parents, her therapist and her lawyer believe she is communicating through those blinks. They believe she is letting them know: "I want to see my children." Her husband, who has since divorced her, thinks otherwise. He thinks that there is no way she could be communicating, and that it would be damaging for the children to see their mother in this condition. He worries the triplets, who are now 4 years old, might one day blame themselves for what happened to her, at the time of their birth.
There are gray areas of medicine, and that is especially true when it comes to the brain. Doctors don't agree on Abbie's condition. And, now to try and settle this, medicine and the legal system will collide.
Of course, when sitting back and thinking about this whole situation, my dad instinct took over once again. I wondered if the focus regarding Abbie was misplaced. Regardless of her condition or her ability to communicate or interact, do her children have a right to see their mother? And, does Abbie have a right to be with her children. There are no easy answers, but I am eager to hear what you have to say.
Filed under: Sanjay Gupta
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