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Forced to stay in th ehospital, agree?

โ€“Samantha Burton wanted to leave the hospital. Her doctor strongly disagreed, enough to go to court to keep her there.

She smoked cigarettes during the first six months of her pregnancy and was admitted on a false alarm of premature labor. Her doctor argued she was risking a miscarriage if she didn't quit smoking immediately and stay on bed rest in the hospital, and a judge agreed.
Three days after the judge ordered her not to leave the hospital, Burton delivered a stillborn fetus by cesarean section.

And six months after the pregnancy ended, the dispute over the legal move to keep her in the hospital continues, raising questions about where a mother's right to decide her own medical treatment ends and where the priority of protecting a fetus begins.

"The entire experience was horrible and I am still very upset about it," Burton said through her lawyer. "I hope nobody else has to go through what I went through."


Asked by sweet-a-kins at 8:19 AM on Jan. 26, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (40)
  • Slippery slope. Yes there's a high correlation between smoking and problems, but that doesn't automatically mean her smoking was related to the problems. Considering the majority of pregnant women from the 40's through the 70's smoked, drank and ate whatever they wanted and yet the majority of babies did not experience anything remotely like what this woman did.

    So what happens when the new trend is that women should not stand more than 30 minutes at a time while pregnant - does every woman who can't afford to quit her job face court ordered bed rest if there's any kind of false labor?

    Answer by NotPanicking at 9:36 AM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 8:19 AM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • You would think after making choices that killed your child, you're priorities would be in a different place.

    Answer by IamPatSajak at 8:21 AM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • Another case of the medical community not knowing when to give up. The woman has the right to put her existing family above her expected baby. Who died anyway. Bed rest at home might have been less stressful and resulted in a live birth. This doctor should have his medical license removed.


    Answer by Anonymous at 8:59 AM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • I'm kind of torn. I think she's definitely got her priorities out of whack - she thinks being forced to stay in the hospital was a horrible experience that she's still upset about, but apparently isn't upset about the baby she carried that died? Seems messed up to me.

    OTOH, I don't know that I agree with the idea that the courts could order someone to undergo (or not undergo) medical treatment against their wishes. I agree with Baker Acting people who are obviously not well mentally, to help them and keep them from hurting themselves and others. But this...I'm not sure what they did was right. But, if SHE had done what was right (not smoking, taking care of herself & baby, listening to the dr when she went to the hospital), none of this would have happened. So, she really brought it all on herself.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 8:59 AM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • I just cannot believe she was told and knew what could happen to her baby and she kept it up..unreal..idk if she should of been forced to stay but that is unbelieveable and this was a baby ..6 months along oh my

    Answer by tnmomofive at 8:59 AM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • tn, I agree , I did everything to ensure a safe delivery...but have known many pregnant women who haven't. From Smoking to eating sushi and drinking alchol.

     I just don't think we can force someone to get medical care that they don't want. .....IDK

    Just a very sad story


    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 9:09 AM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • I think it's been pretty well established the effects smoking has on a fetus.  I feel bad for the child that never had a chance.

    That said, I don't agree with the Dr. keeping her in the hospital. I am sure she received a bill for the medical expenses. She should have had the right to refuse treatment.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:20 AM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • This is wrong. Just as wrong as getting court orders to force mothers into having c-sections against their will.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 9:29 AM on Jan. 26, 2010

  • Its such a strange thing. If a woman WANTS a baby then its murder for an outside person to murder it. If she doesnt its legal and abortion. Then if you have a father on hand that wants the baby there is precedent to put a pregnant womanwho drinks into confinement of some kind to save the baby. BUT there is also precedent to allow the mother to have an abortion against the wishes of the father because its her body! I KNOW this isnt an abortion question but when I rad it it brought to me how muddy this whole issue is! Its AWFUL that she was forced to stay in the hospital and I dont KNOW if it entirely legal. Is it HER body and HER choice?? OR was the Dr acting in the best interest of a CHILD?? AND if we go with the 2nd theory can the mom NOW be charged for child endangerment/neglect ect........... SUCH a muddy issue! :( Pretty CRAPPY priorities for the mama tho :(


    Answer by momof030404 at 9:33 AM on Jan. 26, 2010