Harvard Student Inspires Bipartisan Bill
A few weeks ago, one of my classmates published a Down syndrome study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Now, he finds his ideas working their way through the Capitol:
Harvard Study Leads to Legislation (Boston Globe)
Brian Skotko’s survey found that doctors don’t provide pregnant women with enough information about Down syndrome and the prospects for their child after birth. All too often, said Skotko, the mothers received the news about their child in a negative, gloomy fashion that failed to relay any positive information about the child’s life expectancy and possible development.
On Wednesday, two senators offered new legislation that would require doctors to provide expectant mothers with up-to-date, scientific information about the child’s condition, possible treatment options and expected development. It also calls for a study of existing health care and support services.
“Our real vision should be for families to grow and prosper and continue to bring new life into the world — and we need to support that effort,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.
Skotko, also a student at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, culled his study results from 1,250 survey responses he got from mothers in Down syndrome parent organizations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California, Colorado, and North Carolina.
“Doctors continue to find it very challenging to deliver a diagnosis like Down syndrome to an otherwise happy expectant mom,” said Skotko, who has a sister with Down syndrome.
Quite impressive. Though I haven’t read the study, I can attest that Brian’s a very smart guy, so I’m hardly surprised that he’s made such an impact. It must, however, frustrate many academics (including, perhaps, some of our own professors) who publish countless brilliant papers that never escape the ivory towers, let alone get widely read by peers.
Anyway, here’s the university press release. Best wishes to Brian and his cause.