In March of 2008, National Public Radio ran an interview with Elizabeth Weil about her New York Times Magazine story “A Wrongful Birth?.” The interview and article surround the story of a family who received substandard , prenatal care from their obstetrician, which ultimately led to birth injuries and defects.
Physician Negligence Leads to Substantial Verdict
Their son AJ was born with an easily detectable, yet extremely rare condition, which will lessen his life expectancy and leave him mentally and physically challenged throughout his shortened lifetime. The family sued their doctor, who should have made them aware of the condition before the third trimester (once abortion is not longer an option), and was awarded by a New York State Court the money to care for the child for his lifetime. While the award was a substantial sum of money, the costs for raising such a disabled child for his lifetime will be substantial as well. Consequently, New York does not legislatively allow the awarding of damages to the parents for the trauma resulting from such malpractice.
Weil’s article and interview are very interesting and educational. Unfortunately, she jumps over the most important issue in all of this. At one point, she writes,
“The ethics of selective abortion are being hashed out in the courts.”
Earlier, in her interview, she also explains that the parents of the child started the malpractice lawsuit, because they felt that,
“they were deprived of that choice”
to terminate pregnancy. The issue in these cases is not whether the courts are hashing out our national ethics. If anything, it would be the politicians who have carved out our ethics for us. From abortion to drugs, the politicians decide what is OK and what is not OK. Here, the politicians have decided that we all have the right to a choice. They have not decided whether or not it is OK to terminate a pregnancy based on whether or not the child is blind, or deaf, or retarded, or disabled. None of this is decided for us. The courts have not hashed this out for us. The point is whether or not we get to make these decisions for ourselves. We pay doctors for a particular type of care and if it is not received – depriving us of the choices we are guaranteed in this country – than this is malpractice.
What people choose to do with the information given to them by their doctor is their choice. There is no place for ethics in a debate about whether or not doctors should have any control over neonatal testing, because this type of medical malpractice can lead to the sickness and death of our children.
Birth Injury Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadephia
If your child was born with irreversible damages caused by negligence of a physician, you may have a claim for damages. For more information, please go to the New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys page. You may also contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation, or call at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.