Couple Wins Down Syndrome lawsuit

Couple Wins Down Syndrome lawsuit

Joined: November 4th, 2006, 7:32 pm

March 12th, 2012, 7:17 pm #1

Newser) An Oregon couple has been awarded $2.9 million in a case centered not around wrongful death, but wrongful birth. Ariel and Deborah Levy said they would have terminated their pregnancy had they known their daughter would have Down syndromebut they were continually told the child would not. On Friday, a jury agreed Legacy Health System was negligent, citing five instances. Among them: The doctor took an incorrect tissue sample in order to determine the chromosomal profile; it was apparently analyzed incorrectly as well.

Lawyers for the hospital said they were "disappointed" in the verdict and looking into their options. The couple had originally asked for $7 million, and will use the money to care for their child, now four. "These are parents who love this little girl very, very much," said the couple's lawyer. "Their mission since the beginning was to provide for her and thats what this is all about." The Oregonian notes that the Levys mouthed the words "thank you" to the jury as they filed out.

I guess I am curious? any opinions? I have read lots of comments for and against them?
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Joined: December 2nd, 2005, 3:49 pm

March 13th, 2012, 1:49 am #2

On the one hand, I can understand why they would be motivated to ask for a settlement, especially if they are a poor or working class family. On the other hand...this is a live child we are talking about. The "misdiagnosis", if you would, led to the birth of a child that would not otherwise have been born. The DS was not caused by medical neglect. The birth (and if you would, life) was continued by the mistakes. That's different than a medical mistake CAUSING death or disability. This could open the door to all kinds of lawsuits regarding reproduction, IMHO.
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Joined: June 24th, 2005, 12:12 am

March 13th, 2012, 3:10 am #3

Newser) An Oregon couple has been awarded $2.9 million in a case centered not around wrongful death, but wrongful birth. Ariel and Deborah Levy said they would have terminated their pregnancy had they known their daughter would have Down syndromebut they were continually told the child would not. On Friday, a jury agreed Legacy Health System was negligent, citing five instances. Among them: The doctor took an incorrect tissue sample in order to determine the chromosomal profile; it was apparently analyzed incorrectly as well.

Lawyers for the hospital said they were "disappointed" in the verdict and looking into their options. The couple had originally asked for $7 million, and will use the money to care for their child, now four. "These are parents who love this little girl very, very much," said the couple's lawyer. "Their mission since the beginning was to provide for her and thats what this is all about." The Oregonian notes that the Levys mouthed the words "thank you" to the jury as they filed out.

I guess I am curious? any opinions? I have read lots of comments for and against them?
I guess i think about this case as being about what happens when medical procedures are mishandled or misperformed rather than being about the Levys, or terminating pregnancies, or whether a life was made or a life avoided being ended.

I think that when a health care provider is proven to have been negligent (and, in this case, negligent in five instances), then an award is due, regardless of the medical issue at hand and what I may or may not think about it. This is how we hold the medical community accountable for doing the work they say they are doing and doing it according to the standards set out, again, regardless of the medical issue at hand and my opinion about it.

Just because i may not like the procedure or what correct care would have led to doesn't, imo, make it okay for doctors to be negligent in doing the work they have said they are doing. and, when they don't, when that trust is broken, an award is due.

I'm guessing the couple adores their little girl and likely can't imagine life without her, just like the rest of us. But, this outcome still doesn't make it okay that the doctors botched their work (and 5x over, at that). The next time they botch, it might be on something that directly ends a life. So, this botch needs to go on record.





me:smc (single mom by choice)
FSH: 16
Dd: Conceived when I was 42 after 2 years ttc. Conceived on 6th IVF cycle after 2 bfn's and 3 m/cs.

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me:smc (single mom by choice)
FSH: 16
Dd: Conceived when I was 42 after 2 years ttc. Conceived on 6th IVF cycle after 2 bfn's and 3 m/cs.

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wcl
Joined: September 19th, 2006, 11:17 am

March 13th, 2012, 11:23 am #4

Newser) An Oregon couple has been awarded $2.9 million in a case centered not around wrongful death, but wrongful birth. Ariel and Deborah Levy said they would have terminated their pregnancy had they known their daughter would have Down syndromebut they were continually told the child would not. On Friday, a jury agreed Legacy Health System was negligent, citing five instances. Among them: The doctor took an incorrect tissue sample in order to determine the chromosomal profile; it was apparently analyzed incorrectly as well.

Lawyers for the hospital said they were "disappointed" in the verdict and looking into their options. The couple had originally asked for $7 million, and will use the money to care for their child, now four. "These are parents who love this little girl very, very much," said the couple's lawyer. "Their mission since the beginning was to provide for her and thats what this is all about." The Oregonian notes that the Levys mouthed the words "thank you" to the jury as they filed out.

I guess I am curious? any opinions? I have read lots of comments for and against them?
I think Tara is right about this being a way to encourage our medical practitioners to always follow "best practices" in their profession, and a way to prevent future tragedies. Plus, I can certainly understand the parents possibly needing funds to provide for their DD for the rest of her life. Government-funded services will be available to them, but as we all know, it's often hard to advocate for and access those funds and services, and even then they might not be enough. But even if the parents can well afford care for their DD, the first reason is reason enough for the suit, and I applaud them. A suit is never a comfortable thing to be involved in.

This is exactly the issue explored in Handle With Care, a novel about a child born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), which means brittle bones that can break very easily. The parents sued their best friend, the obstetrician, who they claimed was negligent in prenatal testing. It's a fascinating but harrowing story. So you have to feel up to it.

wcl
Last edited by wcl on March 13th, 2012, 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 27th, 2003, 11:09 pm

March 13th, 2012, 12:43 pm #5

I guess i think about this case as being about what happens when medical procedures are mishandled or misperformed rather than being about the Levys, or terminating pregnancies, or whether a life was made or a life avoided being ended.

I think that when a health care provider is proven to have been negligent (and, in this case, negligent in five instances), then an award is due, regardless of the medical issue at hand and what I may or may not think about it. This is how we hold the medical community accountable for doing the work they say they are doing and doing it according to the standards set out, again, regardless of the medical issue at hand and my opinion about it.

Just because i may not like the procedure or what correct care would have led to doesn't, imo, make it okay for doctors to be negligent in doing the work they have said they are doing. and, when they don't, when that trust is broken, an award is due.

I'm guessing the couple adores their little girl and likely can't imagine life without her, just like the rest of us. But, this outcome still doesn't make it okay that the doctors botched their work (and 5x over, at that). The next time they botch, it might be on something that directly ends a life. So, this botch needs to go on record.





me:smc (single mom by choice)
FSH: 16
Dd: Conceived when I was 42 after 2 years ttc. Conceived on 6th IVF cycle after 2 bfn's and 3 m/cs.
I started to reply to the original message yesterday, then realized I didn't want to touch it. I was talking about it with my husband last night, and while I do think the hospital should be accountable for their mistakes (five times over, no less!), but it's hard to get over the idea that the child might one day hear about the case and know that her parents would have terminated the pregnancy had they been properly told that she has Down Syndrome. That's a pretty horrible thing for a person to hear, I would think, no matter how loved and happy the parents are that she is now theirs. That's the part that I couldn't get over, and for that reason, I can't imagine pursuing a case like this, even though I think it was the right thing to do from a medical standards point of view.

xoxox
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Joined: February 16th, 2006, 1:10 am

March 13th, 2012, 1:27 pm #6

Newser) An Oregon couple has been awarded $2.9 million in a case centered not around wrongful death, but wrongful birth. Ariel and Deborah Levy said they would have terminated their pregnancy had they known their daughter would have Down syndromebut they were continually told the child would not. On Friday, a jury agreed Legacy Health System was negligent, citing five instances. Among them: The doctor took an incorrect tissue sample in order to determine the chromosomal profile; it was apparently analyzed incorrectly as well.

Lawyers for the hospital said they were "disappointed" in the verdict and looking into their options. The couple had originally asked for $7 million, and will use the money to care for their child, now four. "These are parents who love this little girl very, very much," said the couple's lawyer. "Their mission since the beginning was to provide for her and thats what this is all about." The Oregonian notes that the Levys mouthed the words "thank you" to the jury as they filed out.

I guess I am curious? any opinions? I have read lots of comments for and against them?
"we would have terminated" bothers me a lot. I ttl agree that the negligence (double) warrants a settlement, but I don't know how to get past positioning their child in this way. I guess you have to present the case the best way you can, but if I were a juror, I would have never believed that part of it. I had testing done with my 3 sons. I can honestly say I don't know what choice I would have made. If you asked me 20 yrs ago I would have probably said I would have terminated, but now I really don't think I would. That choice is something you only know when that moment is given to you, imho, so that knowledge would keep me from voting in their favor.




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Joined: February 22nd, 2006, 4:05 am

March 13th, 2012, 4:13 pm #7

would have terminated" could easily be edited in and may not necessarily be how the couple would have "put" it. I've written stuff to publish that was so different after the editing process that I was upset it was going to be put out there. The meaning had been changed - a lot and was not what I wanted to say.

Having said that, there are a lot of people out there who just would not have wanted any risk at all and would have terminated. I met people like this when I was trying to come to a decision on my own situation. People are blunt and know exactly what they want. I knew exactly what I wanted too. I had my mind made up about what my actions would have been and because of my reasons that was that.

What I really don't like is the fact that it's out there for the child to see. No child needs that, especially a child who starts at a social disadvantage and since now as Tara said, they probably love their child unconditionally.

I really agree with Tara.
Z.


Last edited by ZakiaZ on March 13th, 2012, 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: November 4th, 2006, 7:32 pm

March 14th, 2012, 4:22 am #8

Newser) An Oregon couple has been awarded $2.9 million in a case centered not around wrongful death, but wrongful birth. Ariel and Deborah Levy said they would have terminated their pregnancy had they known their daughter would have Down syndromebut they were continually told the child would not. On Friday, a jury agreed Legacy Health System was negligent, citing five instances. Among them: The doctor took an incorrect tissue sample in order to determine the chromosomal profile; it was apparently analyzed incorrectly as well.

Lawyers for the hospital said they were "disappointed" in the verdict and looking into their options. The couple had originally asked for $7 million, and will use the money to care for their child, now four. "These are parents who love this little girl very, very much," said the couple's lawyer. "Their mission since the beginning was to provide for her and thats what this is all about." The Oregonian notes that the Levys mouthed the words "thank you" to the jury as they filed out.

I guess I am curious? any opinions? I have read lots of comments for and against them?
I appreciate all the input. I was just worried that this lawsuit may open a can of worms and maybe hospitals could start mandating tests for women like us with IF.

It can go both ways. I hope the kids truly benefits from the money.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 14th, 2012, 11:42 am #9

and I think that medical malpractice suits are much more rare there, and probably capped very low.

It is interesting that it happened there, since that DS child would be entitled to lifetime care and support. That's supposed to be why medical malpractice is not nearly as frequent nor as generous in nations with universal healthcare. I thought so, anyway. And I don't know the outcome of the lawsuit.

If the American child turns out to be high-functioning and can someday read about her parents' lawsuit, that would be tragic.

And how can a jury or judge be certain that a plaintiff really would have aborted? I think that the only way to be sure is prior abortion or a prior disabled child in the family. Even pro-choice ppl can decide they will raise a disabled child. It's so complicated. My older sister, who was born 17 years before Roe v. Wade, has DS. My dm says she can't imagine her life without dd, but that she can understand why others might choose not to have that life.

This family lives in Oregon. A friend who lived there briefly told me that their social welfare system is very poor, so maybe they really do need the support. And even though my sister is living a fantastic life with more disposable income than I have, that could all go away tomorrow if our legislature and governor decide to yank the rug out. So I guess that I can understand why they feel they need to have resources to care for her. She could live a very long time, after all.

And yes, medical malpractice should not be let go with a slap, esp. when there were so many instances.

To me, this is at least 2 separate issues: negligence and supporting the disabled. I know I might make some ppl angry and I don't want to start a flame war, but I do feel that we need to unconditionally support and educate the disabled so that families don't need to say, "I can't afford to have and raise this disabled child." We need support within schools and society that are so solid that nobody would even think that having a disabled child was a tragedy.

Over a period of years, maybe decades, there were some public debates between Peter Singer, the Australian vegetarian philosopher at Princeton who believes that parents should be allowed to let a disabled baby die, and severely disabled Charleston attorney Harriet McBryde Johnson. Her physical disabilities were so severe that she was exactly the kind of baby that Singer believed should have been allowed to die. She even went to Princeton to debate him. She wrote a wonderful piece in the NYT, if you care to read it. I'll just post the first paragraph here, and a link. Harriet died a few years ago, but she was a terrific advocate for the disabled during her career.

"He insists he doesn't want to kill me. He simply thinks it would have been better, all things considered, to have given my parents the option of killing the baby I once was, and to let other parents kill similar babies as they come along and thereby avoid the suffering that comes with lives like mine and satisfy the reasonable preferences of parents for a different kind of child. It has nothing to do with me. I should not feel threatened."

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/16/magaz ... all&src=pm




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 51, dh 52
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 14th, 2012, 12:03 pm #10

This website describes wrongful life lawsuits in different places. Surprisingly, the French high courts allowed the lawsuithttp://www.inclusiondaily.com/news/advo ... births.htm

Ok, I see now that some ppl are worried that women will be forced to terminate risky pregnancies, but that's not where we are now, so we have to be alert and watchful. I won't rant about pro-life pols refusing to provide services and support to disabled and poor children. I do that on FB.

This kind of thing can go both ways. This isn't simply about state-sponsored death panels. We already have for-profit death panels. I am convinced to my very core that the reason First Hell denied me home uterine monitoring while I was pg with ds was b/c they knew that if he was born premature, the state would pay his bills, not First Hell. If only I had connected the dots. I might have asked my state AG to sue them to cover home uterine monitoring. After all, if I were on medicaid, it would have been covered. To me, it's specious to argue that a treatment that is accepted by Medicaid is too unproven for private providers to provide. It was a gamble with my son's life. They knew that the outcomes were: a. Baby born too soon dies and saves First Hell tons of money for later care for special needs not covered by state. b. Baby born too soon survives and gets care at state's expense. c. Family finds 11k for home uterine monitoring.

By the way, First Hell was merely the third-party administrator for the self-insured SMI-Owen Steel, a family-owned corporation that already knew about my dd. May they burn in hell for denying me coverage after I'd already lost one child.

And if you still don't believe me? I interviewed for a job as a trainer/writer/editor a few years ago for a huge for-profit insurance provider. The position would have been working for a third-level appeal branch whose objective was to deny coverage to subscribers. A death panel. At a for-profit insurance corporation. Needless to say, when I learned what their mission was, I did not pursue further interviews. Never will interview again for any job at that corporation, ever.




Keiki's Makuahine (Keiki's Mom) 51, dh 52
Keiki: b. 2002 after 3 months bedrest
Natural conception following ZIFT/chem. pg

Olivia: b. 1999 d. 1999
28-week preemie, ptl cause unknown
Natural conception after 1 mc

ttc since 1998
Last edited by goldiescholar on March 14th, 2012, 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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