to the HOME PAGE
Endorsements pg. 1
Medical Endorsements pg. 2
Table of Endorsements
Mari Douma, DO
Is an assistant professor of Pediatrics, at Michigan State University,
College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Douma testified before the Michigan
House Judiciary Committee in support of Michigan HB 4455 (a family friendly
jury duty bill) on October 14, 2003.
empathize with the court’s difficulties in finding jurors. While serving on
a jury is one of our rights and responsibilities as citizens, it is often
viewed as an inconvenience. Most situations in the “adult realm” of life,
however, can be accommodated, even if with some difficulty. But for the
stay-at-home parent or guardian, serving on a jury is not a mere matter of
It directly involves the health, well-being, and lives of our children.
After hearing the testimony of mothers affected by the current state of
affairs, I am very concerned about leaving the decision of postponement up
to a judge. It is clear that to protect the vulnerable citizens, our
children, Michigan needs a law that addresses this situation with fairness
in all jurisdictions…
If the mother is breastfeeding, she is urged by healthcare professionals to
maintain lactation for her health and her child’s. Virtually all major
medical organizations second the American Academy of Pediatrics
EXCLUSIVELY for the first six months, and to CONTINUE to breastfeeding,
along with other foods, until AT LEAST one year of age.
benefits of breastfeeding, while often not fully recognized, are tremendous
and affect both the baby and the mother throughout their lives. An infant
who is not breastfed has 2-3 times the risk of infectious illnesses and even
1.5-2 times the risk for chronic, serious illnesses later in life...To
maintain lactation while separated from her infant is not always easy. It
requires equipment and preparation that a stay-at-home mother may not have
access to. Expressing milk when away from her infant requires time and a
place to pump that may not be (provided by) every court...To express her
milk, a mother needs an electric, high quality pump, which generally costs
around 200-300 dollars. It is recommended that she begin pumping well in
advance of her anticipated return to work—at least a couple of weeks. This
allows her to become accustomed to expressing her milk and to build up a
A stay-at-home mother called to jury duty does not have this opportunity.
Milk is produced on a “supply and demand” basis. Because of this a mother
needs to express her milk frequently enough to maintain her supply—usually
every 2-4 hours. She also needs to express often enough to collect enough
milk to meet her infant’s nutritional needs. This is not likely to be
compatible with serving on a jury.
What can happen if a lactating mother is unable to express her milk?
Significant medical complications can occur. If the milk is not expressed,
pressure builds in the breasts and the milk ducts can develop plugs—painful
swollen lumps. If these plugged ducts are not resolved with frequent milk
removal, mastitis can result. Mastitis is an infection in the breast marked
by fever and body aches. It is treated with rest, fluids, oral antibiotics,
and frequent milk removal. If the mastitis is untreated, a very serious
condition, an abscess, can result, requiring surgery…
In our society we applaud mothers and fathers for taking good care of
their children. Our laws should support this endeavor, not preclude it.
The angst and difficulty of trying to arrange for a safe and nurturing
substitute care-giver at short notice cannot be underestimated. The harmful
effects of requiring a stay-at-home lactating mother to leave her infant for
hours at a time, for an indeterminate number of days, cannot be ignored. I
urge you to support this (family friendly jury duty initiative) bill that
will support Michigan families from all walks of life as they seek to
nurture their children.
Testimony given by Dr.
Mari Douma, DO before the Michigan House Judiciary Committee in support of
HB 4455 on October 14, 2003