Medical Professionals  endorse Family Friendly Jury Duty Legislation

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Medical 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.

“...I can 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 inconvenience.
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 recommendation to:

Breastfeed EXCLUSIVELY for the first six months, and to CONTINUE to breastfeeding, along with other foods, until AT LEAST one year of age.

The health 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 supply.
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