Would You Keep A Promise If It Could Cost Someone Their Life?*

“My [adopted] brother died on March 31, 2003, at the age of 33 from a heart attack. The medical examiner determined that it was due to a congenital heart defect – something our family never knew was in his history.” -Kathy Flaherty

“You see, I learned last year, when I finally met my birth father, that he survived Stage 4 colon cancer. At 51 I am due for a colonoscopy, but without that information I probably would have procrastinated about scheduling one……..family history is critically important. I saw that first-hand this week during my consultation in the gastroenterologist’s office. I had seen this doctor 15 years ago for a different matter, so she had my records from back then, with the blank family history page. Ours was a pretty run-of-the mill discussion until I explained that I hadn’t scheduled the colonoscopy only because it was time to do so. As I spoke about my father’s experience, I watched her sit up straighter in her chair and take extra interest in what I had to say. Knowing my history gave her greater context for the test — and for me as her patient.” -Terri Vanech

“At the age of 17 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Then at age 34 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.” -Lisa Barbuti

“My recently discovered heart condition caused a different doctor to ask about my parents/siblings’ hearts, as he considered possible invasive testing. I don’t know.” – Rochelle Dewell

If I had access to my medical history, I would be in a position to better manage the decisions I make regarding my health. -Diane Agustus

Doctors Agree!

Connecticut State Medical Society Supports Senate Bill 977

*Although written agreements of confidentiality with birth parents have never been found, the secrecy and shame surrounding adoption have led some to believe otherwise. Surrender and Subordination: Birth Mothers and Adoption Law Reform, Professor Elizabeth J. Samuels, 20 Michigan Journal of Gender and Law 33 (2013) Even if such agreements exist, should they impede adoptees from protecting their health and the health of their children? Connecticut law allows adoptees to learn their biological parent’s identity after the parent dies.  Should adoptees have to wait until their biological parents are dead to obtain information that may save their own lives?