Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Failure to Diagnose Down Syndrome

The Herald Sun in Australia published "Two couples suing doctors for failing to diagnose Down Syndrome" today. This isn't the first time I've read something like this. There was a similar article in 2009 about a couple in Oregon suing their doctor for $14 million.

I don't want to judge BUT... It's sickening! Absurd! Selfish! The father says they treat their 4-year old daughter like gold. How contradictory! Can he look his daughter in the eye and say, We love you but but would've killed you had we been known that you weren't going to be "perfect"? It's maddening! Of course, they place blame on their doctor who failed to detect Down syndrome (Remember, any test to detect Down syndrome is not 100% accurate). Surely, SOMEONE is to blame when life throws a curve ball, right?

Here is the article in case the link to it doesn't work:
TWO Victorian couples are suing doctors for failing to diagnose Down Syndrome in their unborn babies, denying them the chance to terminate the pregnancies.

The couples are claiming unspecified damages for economic loss, continuing costs of care of the children, and "psychiatric injury".

Both say they would have aborted their pregnancies had they been told their children would be born with Down Syndrome.

In one case, parents of a girl born in July 2005 are suing the Royal Women's Hospital. The parents said an early indication of Down Syndrome was detected by ultrasound in the first trimester and a further test was recommended.

They went to the Royal Women's with the results of their initial ultrasound, and another was taken.

The doctor failed to detect Down Syndrome, the mother said.

"Had the presence of Down Syndrome been diagnosed at the time of the first trimester ultrasound and/or at the time of the second trimester ultrasound, a time frame which permitted the termination of the pregnancy, then the (mother) would have terminated the pregnancy," the statement of claim says.

The girl, 4, who now attends a specialist kindergarten, was born with heart, kidney and thyroid problems, can't walk, and needs help feeding, her father said.

"Don't get us wrong: we love our daughter. She's part of our family, and we treat her like gold," he said.

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Kathryn Booth said she was investigating whether appropriate ante-natal management and testing, including an amniocentesis, should have been offered and performed.

In 2003 the High Court ruled parents could sue in the event of a wrongful birth, she said.

New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have legislated against such claims. But in Victoria, people can sue for compensation for the continuing costs of raising a child to the age of 18, where the child was born as a result of negligent care, she said.

The Royal Women's is yet to file a defence.

In the second case, Western Health is being sued over a birth at Sunshine Hospital in December 2007.

The parents allege a failure to "exercise reasonable care" of the mother, "advise (her) in relation to the risks of Down syndrome given her age" and "provide (her) with the option of ante-natal screening.

"In the event that Down Syndrome had been detected, (she) would have elected to undergo a termination of her pregnancy," their statement of claim says.

The parents claim to have suffered "depression, shock and anxiety" and "pain and suffering during pregnancy and delivery".

In its defence, Western Health and a doctor involved in the birth deny any wrongdoing.

The hospital argues the family has failed to show it suffered a "significant injury" as defined by law.

Unless settlement agreements are reached, civil trials are expected to go ahead.


mrsstrickland said...

Sick! You love your daughter and treat her like gold, yet had you known she was Down Syndrome before you had her, you would have killed her? You wouldnt have even given her a chance?? That makes me sick!! When they told me there was a high chance my newest had Down Syndrome when I was pregnant, I accepted the fact that I may have a special needs child, and moved on! Turns out, he did not have Down Syndrome, but I would love him just the same if he did! I dont think people should be allowed to terminate pregnancies for such things!

Rochelle said...

Ugh, what a horrible article. Obviously they aren't living in the blessing of having a child with ds. Very sad.

M.Hilton said...

I wondered if they were doing this for financial reasons, and saying they would have aborted just so they could win their legal case. Jodi Picault wrote a novel about a girl with osteogenesis imperfecta whose parents did that. But I agree, it was terrible to hear the parents saying that. Terrible in so many ways!

Kandi Ann said...

My (adopted by love) niece and Grandson both were said to have DS. Both are here and do not have it. I can't imagine this world without them. Also, if they did have it, neither Mom would have terminated and loved them just as much (who knows? Maybe more!)

Lori said...

Oh my goodness, that is absolutely sick! That poor kid, having parents who wish they had not been born and willing to use them to get money! He doesn't treat the kid like gold, he just keeps thinking the child might be worth some. UGh! I am so angry right now, how horrible!!

Rosa said...

It is very sad article. I completely think the opposite. I knew that my son had Down syndrome since I was about 14 weeks pregnant and it was confirmed with the amnio at 19 weeks. It didn't change anything! I am proud to say a the early stimulation for my son started when he was an unborn baby. I wish it could be more researches focused in prenatally stimulation and nutrition for unborn babies diagnosed with Trisomy 21. I am sure many people will think different.

Jill said...

What is WRONG with people? Seriously. Some folks have a screw loose. I think the judges in these cases should refer to The Judgment of Solomon, which is a story in which King Solomon ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a child. He uses a stratagem to determine the truth, tricking the two women into revealing their true feelings. King Solomon pretends that he will destroy the child by using a sword to cut the child in two, giving one half to each woman. So what if one of these modern-day judges said, "Alright, you win. Let's go ahead and kill your child now, then...and get it over with. No one will be held liable for murder, so bring me something to get the job done." Of course in the Bible, the real mother panicked and told King Solomon to give the child to the other woman so that his life would be saved, even though she desperately wanted him. The other woman, who was truly not the mother, agreed to the slaying. Solomon instantly gave the child to his rightful mother.
I wonder what the parents of these children would do?

Lorna said...

Argh, those parents are such hypocrites! It's so obvious that they're suing primarily for the money, but to state that they would terminate should they know their child's condition?! Pray karma will pay them what they deserve.

Kathy said...

Those people should not be parents. They make me want to vomit.

Marksmom said...

I have a 6 year old son with Down syndrome...I knew before I had an amniocentesis done, and after, went about gathering all the information I could find. His bio-donor, on the other hand wanted me to abort because he didn't want a less than perfect child. Needless to say, this "man" is not a part of our lives. These people are talking about a living, breathing human being. That child did not choose to be born with Down syndrome. The analogy to King Solomon was apropos...why not give the child up for adoption then, if they are so expensive to you? I am a single mother and wouldn't give my son up for the world or for all the "normal" children in this world. He is my life and is a blessing to me every day. People such as those in the article should not even be parents.