Thursday, November 19, 2009


I sat at the labor room desk staring at the form. DOB 4/18/96. Thirteen. 13. Any way I looked at it Morgan Whitney Nabors* is thirteen years old. And this is her second pregnancy. The first ended in a miscarriage but still, she had been pregnant before. I searched the form for other clues. The responsible party was Olive May Warren, a medical assistant, and her employer was blank. Emergency notification listed Arthur Warren. All the telephone numbers and social security numbers were filled in.

I imagined this mother sitting in the emergency room filling out the form. How long had she know her daughter was pregnant? Who is the father of the baby? They have not yet applied for Medicaid. Who is the father of this baby? Why hadn't she gotten her daughter contraception after the miscarriage? Who is the father of the baby? Which baby? What is going on here? Who is the father of the baby? How does a thirteen year old begin having sex? Who is the father of the baby?

I have a headache from the swirling questions. Some of the nurses have told me I just don't understand the culture. Which culture? I have lived right here in this city for the last 27 years. I understand motherhood. I have raised children. I don't understand how a thirteen year old gets pregnant. Who is the father of the baby? Here I go. I am about to dive into this with CPS and social work right behind me. Who is the father of the baby? I am sure the first answer I will get to this questions is "her thirteen year old boyfriend."

There seems to be a sea of inertia in which we are swimming. Despite my strong strokes to stop these teen pregnancies, they are coming faster and younger, with the resources of prevention occasional life preserves usually just out of reach. And who is this baby's father? I will probably never know.

*all names are changed
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Anonymous said...

Wow, I am stunned.
I don't really know how to respond.
I have a 12 year old daughter.

Anonymous said...

And now the news is out today that ACOG recommends women shouldn't have PAP smears until age 21. Dr. B, would you blog about this? I had my first one at 18 (in your office) even though I wasn't sexually active yet. My mom just wanted me to start a relationship with you. I worry this could become a mandate under a government subsidized plan or even in a private insurance situation where the ins. co. relies on this to deny coverage for an earlier routine exam. Would love to hear your thoughts. And love your blog. Miss your private practice. Keep hoping you'll have enough of doing the Lord's work and go back to the office.

local MD said...

I am not sure I am "doing the Lord's work." I do think this type of work suits me much better than private practice. Please know I do miss the patients. See the next blog for some type of answer to your question. I wrote it as you were asking. As for my status with "the office" that is a blog which is still in the distance.