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Saving Babies?The Consequences of Newborn Genetic Screening$
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Stefan Timmermans and Mara Buchbinder

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226924977

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226924991.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 March 2020

Is My Baby Normal?

Is My Baby Normal?

(p.121) chapter four Is My Baby Normal?
Saving Babies?

Stefan Timmermans

Mara Buchbinder

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the medical consultation as a site where uncertainties regarding children’s ambiguous health status were worked out collectively as the child grew. One of the most pressing questions facing parents of newborn screening patients was: is my baby normal? While these babies might have appeared to look like any other baby, uncertainties about their health and development could remain for many months, even years. As is shown here, it was within the confines of mundane clinical encounters and routinized developmental assessments that geneticists attempted to scale back the initial anxieties prompted by the shock of a positive newborn screen and to provide reassurance about a child’s uncertain future. Despite the high-tech infrastructure of expanded newborn screening and genetic testing protocols, once the possibility of further genetic testing was ruled out, newborn screening follow-up visits adhered to a familiar format.

Keywords:   medical consultation, clinical encounters, developmental assessments, geneticists, high-tech infrastructure, newborn screening, genetic testing

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