Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Sivan 5766 - May 31, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Home and Family

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Director, Emergency Services, Bikur Cholim Hospital

With today's technology, operations and even blood transfusions can be given even before birth. Birth is not without dangers but I will not go into them at this time.

Let us go over just one issue in late pregnancy.

Trauma in pregnancy is common: women have a different center of gravity than usual and they are prone to falls. Auto accidents are more complicated because the seat belt does not sit comfortably.

The two worries we have are abruptio and Rh sensitization. Abruptio is when the placenta — the shared tissue of the mother and the baby — separates from the wall of the womb. That hurts, but surprisingly there may be little bleeding if all of the tear is contained by the sides of the placenta. There is, however, danger to both mother and child, and this condition is best picked up by monitoring, that is, wearing a large belt that records the contractions of the womb, that is often done in the later stages of pregnancy.

Any bleeding at all may mix maternal blood with baby's blood. This could be a problem because the baby may have the father's blood group (called Rh) and if the mother does not, it could stimulate her body to make antibodies which could kill the baby's red cells. The best bet is to know blood groups in advance and give mother blocking medications to prevent this if there is any bleeding at all.

Mazel Tov! A new neshomoh with amazing abilities. The healing potential of young children is truly amazing. Places that scar or take months to heal in adults heal nicely in kids with little effort. Bones bend instead of breaking.

I had one kid who climbed over a railing and fell three meters. He was able to get up and walk away with no ill effects. Kids rarely get cancers, rarely get heart attacks, rarely get strokes. They are still growing and can regenerate in amazing ways. Often amputations in kids will retake where in adults it is a lost cause.

However, we get older. By the teen years, growth starts to cease. Bones get harder. Calcium status in bones and fat status get established for life. The thymus gland and the tonsils, which played a role in disease-fighting, start to shrink.

By age thirty, cholesterol problems and high blood pressure can start developing. Considering that most cancers take twenty years to develop, this must also occur during this period. Death can occur — in men from accidents, in women from breast cancer.

Middle age approaches. Stay tuned for next week's discussion. Write me in care of the Yated.


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