Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wrongful Birth, Wrongful Life, Pre-natal Testing and C-Sections

This story explains a lot.

My current homestate, New York, is one of many states which does not protect medical personnel from wrongful birth or wrongful life lawsuits.

A wrongful birth suit is when a family sues a medical professional because their child was born with some kind of illness or disability that if caught before birth would have resulted in an abortion.

A wrongful life suit is when an individual sues a medical professional because they feel they should never have been born.

Borrowed from one of the most awesome blogs on the net. Who borrowed it from somebody called Saturn Stills at Sciencesource.com.
When I got pregnant with James, I was told about all of the pre-natal testing they could do. I refused to do them because a) we have no family history and b) most importantly, the test results would not changed anything, I would never have an abortion.  When I refused, I had to sign a waiver saying that I had been offered these tests, been informed of the pros and cons, and refused. Since I was in my twenties with no family history, the doctors didn't really attempt to persuade me either way. I wonder what will happen next time around since we aren't planning on trying to get pregnant again until I'm at least 30.

One of the biggest c-section myths out there and the one that hacks me off the most.
I also wonder if this mentality has something to do with the c-section rates. There are a number of factors in making c-section rates as high as they are. I know, however, in the case of myself and many other women who have unwanted c-sections, they are pressured into it by doctors. And one of the reasons for the pressure? The doctors are concerned that in the course of regular labor, something will go wrong. They are afraid something will go wrong and they'll be sued.

I addressed this topic specifically with my doctor since I knew it was an issue. I told her that I wouldn't sue her for something that is out of her control. Life and death are a mystery. Childbirth is more of an art than a science. Some things just cannot be predicted and controlled.

I can understanding suing someone when there has been gross negligence, but this "sue-happy" culture makes no sense. Someone doesn't have to pay every time something goes wrong. Pardon my language, but shit happens.

And suing the doctor involved in the birth of your child because the child has a disability is sending one message out loud and clear, "This child should not be alive. A handicapped life is not worth living. A disabled life is less valuable than the life of a 'healthy' person."

I can understand that those with special needs children need money to pay for their care, but you don't have to get it at the expense of the innocent doctor. There are many government and charitable organizations to reach out to for help. And if that isn't enough, be an activist for more aid.

People suing the medical personnel is only making things worse for all of us. It is creating the environment in which few people go into the OB profession because the insurance costs are too high. And people in the profession are scared. And women and children are subjected to unnecessary tests and interventions because the professionals are scared.

Not to mention the message this is sending to world about the value of human life.

1 comment:

  1. There has to be a better way to balance both the needs of the doctor and the patient. This is where legislation has to come into play. In such cases, an unborn child's diseases could not have been prevented anyway, so doctors should be protected in lawsuits that arise from these.
    Leora Yang @ Enviromental Diseases


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