Medicine And The Media

A view from the back of the queue

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 24 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:499
  1. Ann Sommerville

    Jo Harris is a sparky teenager with Down's syndrome and a hole in her heart. The combination seems certain to kill her. As a baby she could have had cardiac surgery but attitudes to Down's children were even more discriminatory then. Now her lungs are damaged. Whereas “normal” people have the chance, however slight, of a heart-lung transplant, Down's patients are simply not eligible. Jo is “a right little … in the bum,” according to her mum, but the real pain is that because of a label she will not even be considered on equal terms with other transplant candidates.

    At first glance then, this programme seems another heart-tugging scenario of sick child and desperate parents pitted against the implacable medical community. Her mother bluntly sums up the medical argument “there are so …

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