Skip to comments.Couple Receives over $21 Million Dollars for "Wrongful Birth" of Handicapped Son
Posted on 07/25/2007 5:23:17 AM PDT by monomaniac
Couple Receives over $21 Million Dollars for "Wrongful Birth" of Handicapped Son
Florida Right to Life says, "now we're holding doctors responsible to deliver a perfect baby"
By Elizabeth O'Brien
TAMPA, Florida, July 24, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A judge has awarded over $21 million dollars to a couple for the "wrongful birth" of their second handicapped son. The couple would have aborted the child if they had known about his disability, the Tampa Bay Tribune reports.
Daniel and Amara Estrada have two sons who are both physically handicapped with the same genetic disorder, Smith-Lemli-Opitz, which does not allow them to properly synthesize cholesterol. The children have difficulty walking and must be fed through a feeding tube. They also have smaller heads and other physical abnormalities.
After the first son was born, the couple's doctor, Boris Kousseff, from the University of South Florida (USF), told them that they would be able to have other normal children and did not diagnose the problem as hereditary. Consequently, when their second son Caleb was born with the same disorder, the couple sued the doctor and the USF.
"He says you have the same chance of anyone else in society of having a normal child. He doesn't tell the truth," said the family's attorney Christian Searcy, Tampa Bay My Fox reports. The judge ruled that the couple will receive over $21 million dollars in recompense for the negligence of the doctor.
The couple claimed that if they had had a proper diagnosis after the birth of their first child in 2002, they could have determined by a pregnancy test that the second son Caleb had the same disorder. According to the lawsuit, if the couple had known this, they would have aborted him, the Associated Press reports.
Commenting on the situation, president and spokesperson for Florida Right to Life Lynda Bell told LifeSiteNews.com, "How bizarre that in our nation, not only have we become a throw-away generation, including our babies that are not perfect, but that now we're holding doctors responsible to deliver a perfect baby. I think this is absurd, and I think this court is opening up a Pandora's box to all types of litigations that say, 'it's not just a matter of nature, now I can hold a doctor accountable for an imperfect child.'"
Bell stated, "Doctor's may feel that they have a responsibility to lead people to abortion just so there's not a lawsuit." She continued, "I'm not going to weigh in on whether or not the doctor was negligent without knowing all the facts of the case, but I think there's a very fine line between a negligent physician and having him being responsible for an unborn child, whether or not it is perfect." She also said that the doctor might have been sued legitimately for negligence, but not for "wrongful birth". "Doctors are not God," she said, "they're physicians."
This story is similar to the case of an Austrian doctor in 2006 who was threatened in court with paying lifetime support costs for a young girl who was born with Down's syndrome. The mother claimed that she would have aborted her daughter if she had known about the child's condition early enough (see http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/jul/06071402.html).
Similarly, in 2003 a British Columbia, Canada court ruled that Dr. Ken Kan of Richmond must pay $325,000 for "wrongful birth", after he failed to diagnose that a child had Down's syndrome. The mother claimed that their handicapped child's birth "totally disrupted our plans," and caused the couple's marriage to fall apart (see http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2003/jan/03013005.html).
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
CANADIAN DOCTOR SUED FOR WRONGFUL BIRTH
WRONGFUL BIRTH SUITS IN CANADA
When What Seems Broken is Perfect: The Mother of a Disabled Child Tells her Story
Earlier Screening for Down's Syndrome May Fuel Eugenic Program Against Disabled
I guess there is no limit to what one can sue for.
Wonder how much you can get if you have a gay son? But judge, if we only knew we could have aborted.
OK When can we sue LAWYERS for their mistakes too?
My barf-o-meter just slammed into the peg.
Makes me want to throw up.
All our health insurance costs just went up a notch.
What horrible, selfish and brutal people!
No, they have legislated that possibility out of existence.
On this case, I don’t have a problem with the lawsuit. If the Doctors advise was negligence, then they should pay for the consequences. The key would be
WAS THEIR ADVISE NEGLIGENCE?
The doc should turn around and sue the husband. If he had kept it in his pants, this would never have happened. He should have known better. After all, they are his genes.
The next question would be if the doctor was negligent what was actual damages done, and legal costs. For example 3 million could be put in a fund that went to pay for this child’s extra needs throughout his life.. and we could give the lawyer a full million dollars.
I wonder what the critics on this thread would do if they had two severely handicapped children who needed very expensive care to have some semblence of a life and they were were going or had already gone bankrupt trying to provide that care. That’s right, most of you would sue.
One problem is 75% of the people in congress are lawyers. Including it seems virtually all of the top people. Guiliani, Fred, Hillary, Obama, Edwards all lawyers. Even Romney has a law degree, although he didn’t make his money in that field. And even Duncan Hunter is a lawyer, which surprised me(hey we can say we know an honest lawyer).
Well long story short its very difficult to convince anyone that members of their profession should make less money. I’ve heard doctors making half a million a year crying that they are under paid, and comparing themselves to wealthy lawyers and successful wallstreet pros as evidence that they chose the wrong profession.
EXCELLENT POINT. However, if the Husband relied on the Doctor’s advise?
Some states have started to control contingency contracts. There is a place for them, but there should be limits.
“now we’re holding doctors responsible to deliver a perfect baby”
No, that’s not it at all. That’s a red herring. Here’s the correction.
We’re holding doctors responsible to deliver reasonably accurate information about the medical conditions of our children.
There is no tort for wrongful birth in the US — so I am highly surprised that the Judge didn’t throw this out. One hopes that it will get overturned on appeal.
As the sister-in-law to a profoundly disabled adult, I can tell you that the government takes complete care of those with these kinds of disabilities. My brother-in-law has been at a state developmental center since 1969 and is receiving excellent care at no cost to the family.
What I am curious about is if the money is slated to go to the care of the child, in which case the parents can’t legally get their hands on it, or if the money is to be given directly to the parents. hmmm...
In either case, when the child dies, the parents would get whatever is left as next of kin.
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