Did the recent media firestorm about the high costs of caring for “distressed babies” catch your attention? As the founder and president of Graham’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting parents of premature babies, it certainly got mine. I was bombarded with requests to respond to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s remarks about “distressed” i.e. premature babies and the high costs of caring for them.
So what is my reaction as a preemie parent and as someone who works with other moms and dads of preemies every day? Frankly, I’m grateful for the light this has shed on an area of care that most people know little about.
The sky-rocketing costs of all areas of healthcare, not just “distressed babies”, are a topic of great concern to business, government and individuals alike. When our twins were delivered prematurely, I was immediately aware of the resources and the associated cost of providing around-the-clock care to give them the chance to survive their traumatic, premature birth.
There is, however, a big white elephant in the middle of the room that we all need to acknowledge. Our society is challenged with an ever-increasing expansion of our health care system because of our expectations of what health care should do for us. That, coupled with our innate drive to discover new and innovative ways to extend and improve our quality of life, whether at the beginning, like in our case, with our twins being born 15 weeks prematurely, or at the end, with the explosion of care for our elderly population.
I will be the last person to judge where we should and should not spend our health care dollars. I recognize that it is easy to analyze and judge our health care expenditures from afar but when you are talking about yourself or your loved one’s life or death, the reality is that you’ll do whatever you can and deal with the financial impact later.
My wife and I, like all parents of babies born prematurely, are members of a club that we would have preferred not to join, but given the option to join with the chance that our babies could survive, we opted for membership. By joining, we know the joys of being parents, an experience that we cherish with every ounce of our being, and we also know the pain of losing our son far, far too soon. That loss created Graham’s Foundation and we have been able to help thousands of parents going through the same joys, pains, and uncertainties as my wife and I. The price we paid, emotionally and financially, was high, and one we are grateful we could pay and would do so again, without a second thought.
Nick Hall is the Founder and President of Graham’s Foundation. For media inquiries, contact Nick@grahamsfoundation.org.