Friday, November 17, 2006

Please join the disability community in remembering the life of baby Allen Bollinger and all the victims of ableism that dominant culture would forget; lives terminated in the name of compassion and care, perfection and progress, tenderness and trust.
Disability History Conservators
Our Lives, Our History: They Matter!
Remembering Baby Allen Bollinger
b. [Nov. 12, 1915, Chicago], d. [Nov.17, 1915, Chicago]
"Baby Bollinger” (first name: Allen) was born to Anna and Allen Bollinger at the German-American Hospital, then located at Diversey and Halsted. The seven lb. baby was diagnosed with multiple physical anomalies [1] and became the first victim in a string of public infanticides of disabled babies committed by the head of staff at the hospital, Dr. Harry Haiselden. The doctor declared the baby a “monster;” a “pitiful bundle of semi-life." [2] Anna Bollinger was encouraged to allow her baby to die by withholding life-saving surgery, "I want my baby. But the doctor has told me...I want him to live-but I couldn't bear to think of how he would suffer…how he would so often curse the day he was born. So I agreed with the doctor."
Many, including Jane Addams and Director of the National Children’s Bureau, Julia Lathrop, denounced the infanticide. Anna’s friend, Catherine Walsh, testified “It was not a monster, that child, it was a beautiful baby”. Yet on Nov. 17, Allen Bollinger, to his mother’s undying grief, and to Chicago’s shame, died as the result of treatment denial. [3]
On the day of Allen Bollinger’s death, the Chicago Tribune newspaper printed the following: “A pink bit of humanity lay upon the white cloth.
Its blue eyes were wide open. Its hair was brown and silky, it dug at its face with little fists. It cried lustily as it drew up chubby legs and kicked out. It seemed quite vigorously informed with life.” [4]
[1] Pernick, Martin S, The Black Stork: Eugenics and the Death of “Defective” Babies in American Medicine and Motion Pictures since 1915.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1996, p3.
[2] Chicago Tribune, 11/17/15
[3] Chicago Daily News, 11/17/15
[4] Chicago Tribune, 11/17/15

Disability History Conservators
Our Lives, Our History: They Matter!
This case is one of the stories in the media last year that inspired FRIDA members to start thinking we needed a women's group to respond to stories like this. Read on. Get pissed off. Join FRIDA. (Next meeting is December 18, 2 to 4 pm at Access Living.)

Former suburban nursing home worker pleads guilty in patient's rape
Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:03 am (PST)
WHEATON, Ill. -- A former suburban Chicago nursing home worker chargedwith raping a profoundly brain-damaged resident who later gave birth changed his plea to guilty Wednesday in DuPage County Circuit Court. Authorities said Reynaldo Brucal Jr., 19, of Schaumburg, raped the23-year-old woman, who suffers from cerebral palsy, at the AldenVillage Health Facility for Children and Young Adults in Bloomingdaleearly last year. In accepting the guilty plea to a count of aggravated criminal sexualassault, Circuit Judge George Bakalis said Brucal faces a sentenceranging from 6 to 30 years in prison. Bakalis set a presentencing hearing for Dec. 13, at which time he saidhe would set a sentencing date for sometime in January.The baby's mother, who cannot walk or talk, and her twin sister hadlived at Alden Village since they were 10 but were removed from thefacility when the pregnancy was discovered, five weeks before the babywas born.Bloomingdale police took DNA samples from all the male workers at thenursing home and matched Brucal's to the infant, who was delivered byemergency Caesarean section on July 20, 2005.Brucal, a nurse's aide, worked at Alden Village from September 2004until his arrest Nov. 1, 2005."What I find especially disturbing ... is that he sexually assaulted aseverely handicapped woman who was unable to fight back or to evencommunicate to others what had happened," DuPage County State'sAttorney Joseph E. Birkett said in a statement.The Illinois Department of Public Health fined Alden Village $10,000for lacking oversight and mishandling its investigation of the incident.State officials said the facility failed to conduct a completeinvestigation into the alleged assault, and treated the swelling ofthe woman's abdomen as constipation despite nursing staff reports thatsaid she showed signs of pregnancy.As a result, the woman didn't receive prenatal care and tookanti-convulsive medication until she was seven months pregnant, theagency said.The victim's mother now has custody of the baby, and filed a lawsuitlast year in Cook County against the facility, the management company,her daughter's doctor and Brucal.Copyright © 2006, The Associated Press

Teen admits raping patient - Ex-aide pleads guilty in assault ondisabled womanNovember 16, 2006A former nurse's aide for a Bloomingdale nursing home pleaded guiltyWednesday to raping a profoundly brain-damaged resident who later gavebirth to a daughter.Reynaldo Brucal, 19, faces 6 to 30 years in prison at sentencing forassaulting the 23-year-old woman, who suffers from cerebral palsy andcannot walk or communicate. She was 7 months' pregnant before staffersat the Alden Village Health Facility for Children and Young Adultsnoticed in June 2005. Police were called after doctors confirmed the pregnancy. Her baby was delivered by emergency Caesarean section in July 2005. DNA tests were ordered for all male staff members of the facility andthe results indicated Brucal was a one-in-356 million match to thechild, said DuPage Assistant State's Atty. Robert Berlin. When police confronted Brucal, he initially denied any sexual contact. In November 2005, he confessed, claiming that a latex hospital glovehe improvised as a condom failed, Berlin said. Brucal pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated criminal sexual assault. DuPage County Judge George Bakalis told Brucal, who is Filipino, "I can assure you that after any jail sentence you will be deported."Brucal, a Schaumburg resident, is being held without bond as he awaitssentencing. Bakalis will set the sentencing date Dec. 13, when apresentencing report is due.Brucal never looked toward his parents or the victim's family onWednesday as he answered Bakalis' routine questions. The woman, who is now living in another nursing home with her similarly disabled twinsister, was not present."We're glad he might get his due," said her grandmother, JoElla Gerdes.Looking at photographs of her granddaughter sitting in a wheelchairwith her infant on her lap, Gerdes said: "There's no communication between the two. And my granddaughter just wonders what is this lump on her lap."The victim's mother, Cheryl Hale-Crom, is raising the 16-month-oldchild. Gerdes said her family remains concerned about the child's slow development, saying she has had seizures.The Illinois Department of Public Health fined Alden $10,000 for lackof oversight and mishandling its investigation of the incident. The family has filed a civil lawsuit against the facility.DuPage County State's Atty. Joseph Birkett said Brucal "was entrustedwith [the patient's] care. He betrayed that trust by raping her. It isespecially disturbing that he sexually assaulted a severelyhandicapped woman who was unable to fight back or even communicate toothers what had happened."abarnum@tribune.comCopyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

Monday, November 13, 2006

Study Finds Discrimination Against Disabled Patients (women)

Multiple Medical Problems Make Breast Cancer Treatments Harder forSome
M.D.Nov.6, 2006- Audrey Robinson, now in her 50s, was a 10-year stroke survivorwhen she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. The stroke left Robinson visibly disabled. One side of her body is entirelylimp and motionless. Robinson walks with a complex cane, and uses herworking arm and leg to drag and support her weak side. Although Robinson's disability made her a veteran of the health care system,she was unprepared for the way the breast cancer surgeon treated her. She waited more than four hours to enter an examination room.But even when the doctor did arrive, he didn't treat Robinson with therespect she might have expected. "After making us wait. the door swung open, the doctor swooped in andproceeded to make me feel worthless," Robinson says. "No apologies weremade. He was abrupt, impatient, and never looked me in the eyes. I could'vebeen there with horns on my head and he wouldn't have noticed."I'm not the kind to speak up but I did," she says.Her story came as a real surprise to me - I happen to know the offendingsurgeon and have always known him to be caring and respectful. But, as a newstudy suggests, the surgeon's poor manners might have been related toRobinson's disability. Women with early stage breast cancer who are also disabled are less likelyto be offered today's best treatment options, according to researchpublished in today's Annals of Internal Medicine.For example, lumpectomy (removal of the breast cancer) followed by radiationof the rest of the breast is just as effective a treatment as mastectomy(removal of the whole breast). And a woman who undergoes lumpectomy doesn'tnecessarily lose her breast the way she would from a mastectomy. But women with disabilities were 20 percent less likely to be offeredbreast-saving treatment, according to the study. And the disabled women whounderwent lumpectomy were about 20 percent less likely to be given necessaryradiation after lumpectomy. Every woman's life is precious and deserves the best care possible. So, whydoes this happen? Unfortunately, the research is somewhat true. Patients with multiple medicalissues need a lot of attention in the doctor's office, and doctors tend tobe impatient. It turns out that many complex factors influence these health caredecisions. * Related:<> * Related: Health Problem? <>Concern? Ask Us

Women who are disabled tend to have limited financial resources, insurancecoverage, social networks, transportation options and back-up plans. Adisabled patient may have nowhere to turn in case of bad weather, a brokenwheelchair or a no-show transport team. Disabled patients also tend to have other medical problems and emotionalchallenges that can be almost as threatening and all-consuming as theirbreast cancer. For example, dialysis patients have to juggle hours ofdialysis treatment with their daily radiation therapies.Many of these challenges can make the logistical demands of regulartreatments hard to meet. So what can a woman do?Each woman who faces breast cancer - fully able or disabled - needs to workcarefully with her doctor to figure out her best treatment options againstbreast cancer. While weighing the pros and cons of any treatment option, ask your doctorabout other medical issues.You, as a patient, own your choice. Any given treatment decision may requirespecial arrangements - assisted transportation, coordination with othertherapies like dialysis, etc. It may help to ask for a social serviceconsultation, to find out all of the resources that are available to you. Dr. Marisa Weiss is president and founder of