A Pregnant Fellow
Mahowald, Mary B.
Hastings Center Report. 1992 Sep-Oct; 22(5): 30-31.
Jane Kenny was thirty-two years old, married for five years, and had just completed her first year of a fellowship in high-risk obstetrics when she became pregnant for the first time. She and her husband John, a third-year graduate student in molecular genetics, looked forward to being parents. In the third trimester of her pregnancy, Jane began to have premature labor. Her doctor advised bed rest and prescribed a medication intended to prevent further contractions. Four weeks later, when tests showed adequate fetal lung maturity, the medication was discontinued. Within a few days Jane delivered a healthy baby boy. During the time that Jane was on bed rest, the other two fellows in the program split the "on call" time between them. One who had been married for seven years did not have children; the other had two small children at home. Jane indicated to her colleagues that she felt "guilty" for not "being there to do the work." As a rule the department allowed six weeks' maternity leave for house staff and fellows. Although Jane asked to have her four weeks of vacation time added to this, her request was denied. She was advised to postpone her vacation until the summer, when an additional fellow would join the program. Her mentor told her: "You've already missed too much time in the fellowship. Pregnancy, after all, is elective." Was this a fair way to respond to Jane's request? Would it be unfair to consider her experience of a high-risk pregnancy relevant to the training in a high-risk specialty? What are the moral implications of considering pregnancy elective?
Case Studies; Children; Competence; Discrimination; Education; Ethics; Family Relationship; Fathers; Females; Genetics; Interprofessional Relations; Males; Medical Education; Medical Ethics; Medicine; Mothers; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Parents; Physicians; Pregnant Women; Professional Competence; Pregnancy; Reproduction; Risk; Residency; Social Discrimination; Sociology;
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