Just a thought… Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]
I’m going to start today with sincere thanks for the kind words on Facebook, Twitter and in my inbox in response to yesterday’s journal. I was touched by every note and I’m grateful that my message seemed to resonate with so many readers and listeners to this journal.
Now here’s a message I need you to spread for me.
When I was writing my book (now in the hands of the publisher and editor, as we spend a year preparing it for release) I spoke with some amazing women, all bereaved mothers like myself. One of them had turned the senselessness of her son’s death into action, to raise awareness about the side effects of prescription drugs – especially those that are handed out carelessly as samples, without proper warnings – and her actions made me ask myself what we are doing to spare more families the despair that losing our child has caused us. Was there anything we could do?
Here’s the thing: the coroner was unable to link Lauren’s death definitively to a drug she was taking (as prescribed) to help increase her breast milk production. But he, and another noted medical expert and former coroner, concurred: the drug was strongly suspected and impossible to rule out.
That drug is taken by 1 in 5 nursing mothers here in BC and I decided to try to speak out a little more loudly – albeit carefully (big drug companies have deep pockets, after all) – after I read a seemingly well-meaning article in Today’s Parent. The subject was how to boost your breast milk production if you’re having difficulty (as so many moms – myself included – do and did). One of the helpful hints was taking a drug called domperidone.
My blood ran cold as I read those words.
Because I am part of the Rogers family and had received the article in a link to stories I might want to talk about, I reached out to the editor-in-chief, asking her please to take a closer look at this drug. This past week, Today’s Parent did just that in an article I am begging you to pass on to anyone in your life who might have a little one at her breast and who is experiencing frustration. It sheds some light on the drug and why it’s not prescribed in all countries and also why it is so highly recommended by a man often described as Canada’s breast feeding guru, Dr. Jack Newman, chief pediatrician of the International Breast Feeding Centre.
In writing our book, we reached out to Dr. Newman with our concerns and questions. He kindly offered his condolences, but is firm in his belief that there is no way to link definitively Lauren’s death with the drug that he recommends (when other options like proper latching and natural supplements have failed).
He and Rob had a cordial email exchange in which we made a little headway: we were able at least to have the information on an outdated web page changed to include latest warnings from Health Canada and eliminate an endorsement which was no longer valid. However, Dr. Newman says that he cannot understand the FDA warning and ban in the United States and suggests that it may have more to do with gastro-intestinal issues, for which it is also prescribed.
The woman who spoke to Today’s Parent about her chest pain, who then discovered she had a heart arrhythmia, rang true with us. We suspect Lauren had her daddy’s extremely slow heart beat (resting rate around 45 bpm) but she was never tested (to out knowledge) before being prescribed domperidone. It’s all we’re asking: that mothers and their doctors take that step to make sure the drug they’re being prescribed is safe for them. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask.
Please read this article. It’s so important and could save a life…and a family. And thank you.