Dad of boy with Down Syndrome writes viral open letter to doctor

By Mieke Vlok
28 July 2016

A father’s open letter on Facebook has gone viral after he penned a very honest epistle directed at his wife’s former doctor.

“Dear Dr. P,

You recommended abortion. You were our obstetrician and early in my wife’s pregnancy you broke the news to us that our son would have Down syndrome. You predicted a miserable and very low quality life for our son and you firmly recommended that we terminate the pregnancy,” starts Michael Palimsano’s letter.

He goes on to list the many accomplishments and joyous moments him and his wife, Lynne, have shared with their disabled son, Silas, but admits that the road has not always been easy.

The scathing letter was penned next to a photo of Silas graduating high school.

Read the entire letter below:

While Michael and Lynne clearly had no qualms about keeping their son, experts say the decision isn’t an easy one to make.

On the medical side your doctor ought to refer you to experts who can explain, in detail, what condition your child will be living with and what the effect of this will be. They will make a recommendation, but the final decision remains yours.

An easy decision it certainly won’t be, says dr. Anthony Costandius, a psychologist from Cape Town who specialises in assisting parents of disabled children. You need to consider how demanding the child will be and you need to accept that the rest of your life will be filled with recurring grief and heightened stress, he says.

“You are going to be reminded of the fact that your child cannot develop like others and that your ideals for the child might not be realised. All the extra care and financial demands are also going to add stress.”

But this doesn’t mean you can’t conquer these obstacles, says Anthony. The most important factor is that the parents have a strong relationship, otherwise the relationship will crack under the pressure, he adds. You should also consider the effect of a disabled brother or sister on your other children.

Ultimately, your disabled child can live a high quality life, as long as you process the loss, ensure that you have practical and emotional support systems in place and tackle the challenges one at a time.

Read more:

A mom’s story: My child has Down syndrome

A mom’s story: I regret keeping my baby

Teacher’s letter to autistic learner goes viral – for all the right reasons

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