Severe birth defects not as lethal as docs once said: Study

CHICAGO (AP) — New research says that contrary to what doctors once warned, newborns with certain severe genetic defects aren’t always doomed to die.

Some doctors still tell parents the conditions are “incompatible with life” and don’t recommend any treatment. But a study published Tuesday from Canada found that up to 13 percent of affected infants survived at least 10 years.

Online images of smiling kids with the conditions has led some parents to doubt the dire warnings and seek aggressive and costly surgeries to correct organ abnormalities. Ethicists say the power of social media is changing the landscape for how the medical community views these children.

The conditions are called trisomy 13 and trisomy 18. They typically cause mental impairment, facial and organ abnormalities, breathing problems and heart defects.

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