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The Blessing That Never Should Have Been
06/25/2003

We live in a society in which this is not considered a deplorable contradiction:

Willy Fields, a sanitation worker, rushes home to spend time with Jade every day after work.

"I can't wait to get home to see her, to see her smiling and I know she's not the healthiest girl in the world, but, you know, what she feels I feel, 'cause she's my heart," says Willy. "That's all I can say; she's my heart."

But...

"Jade is the best thing that could have ever happened to us, I mean she's our foundation, she's our rock. But if we had known, I didn't have an option," says Cynthia, who would have had an abortion if she knew about Jade’s condition.

"When looking at this child, first question is, why wasn't anything picked up on the sonogram," says Rachelle Harz, the malpractice lawyer who took the Fields' case. Harz won nearly $1.7 million dollars for the Fields when they settled their wrongful birth case out of court.

These people and their lawyers are dirt. First reason:

Are these suits driving good doctors out of the profession?

"I think they are. I think what's happened is physicians now are held to a level that perhaps many people could not see in their own life, they're basically held to perfection," says Shwayder.

And that standard, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is a major problem for doctors. They currently list twelve states where malpractice suits have caused insurance premiums to increase so much that they threaten to drive obstetricians out of business.

Second, in many ways more important, reason:

The disabled child that parents claim would have been "better off dead" might be severely retarded, like Jade Fields, or might be like 9-year-old Ryan Powers, who is also one of Harz's clients. After his parents won an out of court settlement, his story was profiled in "The Record," a New Jersey newspaper.

Ryan was born with spina bifida, and is paralyzed from the waist down. But mentally, he's normal. He's mainstreamed in a Catholic school, and on his last report card, his mother Karen told us he got straight A's. She didn't want to talk on camera about the wrongful birth lawsuit she brought against her doctor, saying she wanted "to put all that behind us." ...

"It seems as though we're questioning not only the value of life, but the value of people who are not perfect," says Anita Allen-Castellito, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a bio-ethicist.

Castellito worries that Ryan will be damaged emotionally if he learns that his mother testified that she would have had an abortion if she had known about his condition.

"Realistically how many children are going to hear that complicated story as opposed to the simpler message that 'I didn't want you, you're disabled, I didn't want a disabled child,'" says Castellito.

Of course, it's all about the money. Who pays? What are the costs to society?

Who cares?

(via Right Wing News)

Posted by Justin Katz @ 10:31 AM EST