In 1982, a child was born in Bloomington, Indiana, with a condition called a tracheoesophageal fistula, that is, a connection between the esophagus and the windpipe. This condition prevents an affected child from being fed but could be remedied with an operation with (even at the time) a 90 percent success rate.
At the recommendation of the obstetrician, however, the child’s parents refused either to have this operation performed or even to feed the baby with IV fluids. Another physician attempted to intervene, as well as lawyers and nurses, but the courts rejected their appeals. The baby, called Baby Doe, starved to death after seven days.
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