________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 9 . . . . December 22, 2006

cover

Medicine: Under the Influence. 

Lina B. Moreco (Director & Writer). Yves Bisaillon  (Executive Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2005.
77 min., VHS or DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: C0104 263.

Subject Headings:
Neonatal intensive care-Moral and ethical aspects-Canada.
Infants (Newborn)-Hospital care-Moral and ethical aspects-Canada.
 
Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.
 
Review by Catherine Howett. 

***½ /4 

excerpt: 

"It doesn't make sense that we, as a society, spend $250,000 to save a baby born after only 22 weeks, but spend next to nothing to provide the treatment and therapies they need to live with their handicaps. It's scandalous." (Moreco, 2004.) 

 

Medicine: Under the Influence graphically links parental narratives of quality of life to the startling statistic that 30% of premature infants suffer ‘sequelae’ - physical or neurological damage which often leaves them disabled. Moreco allows her subjects - parents, caregivers and medical professionals from Montreal - to speak directly to the physical, emotional and financial toll of raising children born prematurely. The video juxtaposes the serious disconnect between ‘costly aggressive rescue’ of low birthweight and very-low birthweight infants, and the lack of funding for rehabilitation, education, therapy and parental respite. This is a timely, compelling presentation of personal experiences, and an urgent call to reassess the current practice in neonatal medicine.  

     While Helen Harrison in a 1993 article in Pediatrics recommends that “realistic discussions of prematurity should be part of every high school sex education or family life class,” the intense ethical debate surrounding this issue may make it more suitable for post-secondary or adult viewing. This video would be an excellent (if challenging) choice for a public library collection and should be recommended in courses for medical and nursing professionals and para-professionals.  

Highly Recommended.

Catherine Howett is currently completing her Masters of Library Science degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.


Reference: Helen Harrison, The Principles for Family Centred Neonatal Care. Pediatrics 1993; 92: 643-650. 

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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