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NEWS: Australian High Court Hears landmark "Wrongful Life" Case.

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posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 06:58 PM
The Australian High Court in Canberra is hearing a "Wrongful Life" medical negligence suit by two severly dsabled children. One of the claimants Alexia Harriton was born severly disabled after her mother's doctor failed to diagnose Rubella during pregancy, a disease that is well known to cause deafness, blindness and other disablities if the mother suffers the disease early in pregnancy. Alexia Harriton now 24 was born deaf and blind amongst other multiple disabilities.
Counsel for Ms Harriton, Bret Walker, told the court her mother should have been counselled about the possible terrible consequences for his client.

He says if that had happened, her parents would have taken steps to ensure she was not born.

The case is one of two medical negligence claims being heard by the High Court.

Outside the court, mother Olga Harriton said she was seeking justice for her daughter.

"It's been a long time coming for us, we've been fighting for 10 years, 10 years to bring Alexia's plight to this level," she said.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

A sad case indeed and once again the right to life issue comes to the forefront again.

Alexia feel touch though, she may respond to vibrations and to her, she has never seen, so she does not miss sight, she has never heard, so she doesn't miss sound. Her life is special in her own way. She may have tuned the senses she does have to incredible levels, possibly even hearing sound through vibration on her skin. Her sense of smell may be as acute as a dogs, with her easily able to smell fear and love and sweet smells. She may be able to taste extraordinarily good, food may be exquisite to her.

It is a shame she cannot communicate to share, that is the one thing that is sad, she may be able to communicate but we fail to understand.

[edit on 10-11-2005 by Mayet]

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 07:15 PM
If you've never heard of Helen Keller, I invite you to read the account of her remarkable life. I'm sorry for this person's plight, but the fact is that people have terrible things happen to them before and after birth. Many, if not most learn to adapt to one degree or another. A "wrongful life" suit is an outrage to common sense. No one can predict everything. My life hasn't been a bowl of cherries. Whom can I sue?

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 07:47 PM
Pregnancy terminated on "the possibility" of damaged goods...
This is not a case of genetically caused birth defects..
I don't think we can test for any of this..

My mother drank, and smoked, during her pregnancy with me.
Had someone from the future, travelled back to the 60's to consult her..
I may have NEVER BEEN BORN..

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 08:21 PM
I think it's sad and nothing short of pathetic and cruel that your own parents want you dead because you're not perfect.

Loving parents would love their child no matter what. I resent the idea that we need "quality control" when it comes to pregnancy. Oh yes, gotta have that PERFECT baby to feed that ego!

Take me, for example. I was born with a club foot. The doctors kept pointing it out to my mother when I was born, but she told me that she didn't care, she was too busy admiring me!

And my son. He's going on 4 and he's hardly said a word. Yes it hurts when I see kids younger than he babbling out sentences, but you know what? I LOVE my son! And I'm doing what I can to help him!

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 08:23 PM
and your both right too. One never knows.

One of my daughters is disabled from medical negligence and a series of co - incidences that made me pregnant at the time.

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 08:32 PM
I have to question just what it is they're asking for here.

Apparently this woman is seeking compensation for a misdiagnosis of Rubella, during her mother's pregnancy, 24 years ago.

My query starts here ...

Had he successfully diagnosed the Rubella during her mother's pregnancy, and counselled the parents on the potential outcomes, then there is a very good chance this young lady wouldn't even be here today drawing the breathe to file this suit.

I am not being calloused about this. Personally, I am sympathetic to any person born into this life without ALL mental and physical faculties about them. Sadly, nature is what it is.

Not sure just how the AU legal system works, however a successful precedence set here in the US would definitely be of concern.

I don't see an issue likened to pro/anti abortion. What I do see is the potential for selectivity, or better yet compensation for lowered expectation lawsuits.

Consider the possibilities of opening this Pandora's Box. Invitro equating to, "Uhmm...Sorry doc that's not what we had in mind.", "Guess we'll try again."

All the while denying civilization the likes of ...

Disabled Artists Network

Savant Academy

Notable Deaf/Blind/Disabled People: Source

B. Riedel (1912- )

-Usher Type 2 or 3

-borrowed classmates’ notes and read a lot of textbooks to graduate from school with honors > entered medical (dental) school (physical exams not required in his day) > practiced dentistry (drilling, filling cavities) 20 years > left practice to make dentures and partials; then learned about Usher at Hadley School for Blind

Robert Smithdas (1925- )

-born near Pittsburg, PA

-normal development until age 4 years when contracted cerebrospinal meningitis, resulted in total blindness and near deafness; totally deaf by mid-teens; received receptive communication through block letter printed on palm and Tadoma method (right thumb on speaker’s lips and fingers on vocal cords), and retained clear speech

-at Perkins learned braille, and by teens avid reader, reading 3 – 4 books in one weekend

-at 12 years started writing poetry; became member of Poetry Society of America; honored as Poet of the Year (1960)

-scored 98 out of 100 on Harvard’s pre-entrance exam > graduated cum laude from St. John’s University (1950; classmates transcribed textbooks into Braille > first known deafblind to receive Master’s degree in U.s., in Vocational Guidance and Rehabilitation of the Handicapped at New York University (1953)

-Director of deafblind services at Industrial Home for the Blind in New York > now Director of Community Education at Helen Keller National Center for DeafBlind Youth and Adults in Sands Point, NY; lectures about deafblinds’ capability if given opportunity, arranges tours at Center, edits national newsletter)

-published “Life at my Fingertips” (autobiography) and “City of the Heart” (poems)

-earned honorary degrees from Gallaudet University, Western Michigan University, John Hopkins University (1980)

-felt modern day deafblind not receive recognition for success in education and employment because “blocked by shadow of Helen Keller”

-deep sea fishing, gardening, art collecting, gourmet cooking

John J. Boyer (1936- )

-totally deafblind

-earned Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Computer Science at University of Wisconsin at Madison

-wrote special software for disabled people at Technical Braille Center

-founder, business owner and Executive Director of Computers to Help People, Inc. in Madison (1981); developed MegaDots translation programs (e.g., mathematics, chemistry, music) into braille (under subcontract with Duxbury) and into speech; provide special computer hardware and software to people with disabilities

Danny Delcambre

-born in Louisiana in strong traditional Cajun family (LA highest population of Usher in world); Usher Type 1, deaf with limited tunnel vision

-founder and operator of restaurant “Rajin Cajun” in Seattle, WA, which has since closed, to become motivational speaker

-watched parents cook > attended community college, discovered culinary program and transferred into it> researched scholarships and internships (latter required for culinary school graduation) > awarded six scholarships > applied for internship to famous chefs and rejected until world renown New Orleans Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme accepted him > job applications repeatedly rejected > decided to start own business, took classes through Small Business Administration, first business counselor pessimistic, second business counselor supportive > founded first deafblind owned restaurant > President Clinton visited “Rajin Cajun” and sampled cooking > President Clinton invited Danny to White House to receive Small Business Employer of the Year award and to share experiences with government and community leaders > received Small Businessman of the Year award from Seattle and Better Business Bureau Torch Award from Washington state > received Gallaudet University's Amos Kendal Award > received Nordstrom's Salute to Cultural Diversity Community Service Award of Washington

-motivational speakers for businesses, schools, associations, internationally: “If I Can, You Can” theme via ASL with voice interpreter; five spices to success = 1) find your passion; 2) be with positive people, not negative people; 3) be your own best friend; 4) have fun; 5) keep your sense of humor

-former vice-president of Washington State DeafBlind Citizens; vice-president of DeafBlind Service center

-featured in PBS and BBC documentary, Rajin Cajun, one of 6-part series of renowned neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks’ “The Mind Traveller”, nominated Best Documentary for the 73rd Academy Awards

Jeff Bohrman

-Usher Type 1, now totally deafblind (cochlear implant help with sounds, not speech)

- Clarke School for the Deaf.> Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Pharmacology from Dickinson College and University of Pittsburgh > Master’s degree in Pharmacology-Pharmacognosy from University of Illinois > Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology-Physiology from University of Pacific Stockton

-past positions as teaching assistant, post-doctoral investigator, research toxicologist and research pharmacologist

-Project Director for Ohio DeafBlind Outreach Program, part of Comprehensive Program for Deaf at Columbus Speech and Hearing Center: take census of deafblind people in Ohio, assess needs, link to appropriate services

-past president of American Association of DeafBlind; Director of Ohio DeafBlind Association; advisory Board of Helen Keller National Center; Advisory board of DeafBlind Link (National Clearinghouse on Children who are DeafBlind); standing committee of National Coalition on DeafBlindness; National Interpreter Training Advisory Board (develop manual on deafblind interpreting in Connecticut); Consumer Advisory Council for Ohio Relay Service; Ohio Interest Group for Individuals with DeafBlindness

-Medick winner (1996: outstanding visually-impaired person)

-role model with sense of humor

Deborah G. Groeber

-Stargardt's disease

-Bachelor’s degree magna cum laude at Wharton school at University of Pennsylvania > Master in Business Administration from Wharton School > senior financial analyst two years > law degree from Columbia University (used magnifying machine, sound amplifier, Braille puncher, sat close to professors, sign language interpreter) > hired as labor and employment lawyer for Morgan, Lewis & Boddus > appointed by President Clinton to be on Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled (1996) > outreach volunteer and board member for Legal Clinic for Disabled (pro bono legal advice for low-income, physically disabled clients) > recognized as ABC World News Tonight Peter Jennings’ Person of The Week (May 19, 1995) > selected as torch runner for Salt Lake 2002 Paralympics

Kim Powers

-Usher Type 1

-noticed as amature actress on San Antonio theater production by top Kaleidoscope executive, who introduced her to station’s president > star of her own Award winning television talk show series, Kim’s World, air Saturday mornings on San Antonio-based Kaleidoscope cable network, reaching out to nearly 20 million people in more than 35 states (founded 1990); through interpreters, captioning for deaf and voice narration for blind show physically challenged children that anything is possible: draw on own life experiences (e.g., how to identify clothes by texture, how to travel independently, how to interact with animals at zoo, dancing, horseback riding, etc.); dress up as storybook character to interpret and discuss literature with children

-as volunteer gives inspirational talks to disable children in schools, lectures to teacher for disable children; co-host syndicated TV special, Helen Keller: The Magic Within, along with a team; host Paralympics Games for physically disabled athletes in Atlanta on paid TV

-snow skiing, bungee jumping, scuba diving

Georgia Griffith

-born blind, deaf later

-first blind student at Capital University (Ohio), graduated in teaching Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude > teach music in public school

-with declining hearing in 30s, first to earn Library of Congress’ top certification as proofreader of Braille music

-CompuServe executives realized how often they and subscribers turned to her for help > signed her on as systems operator/independent contractor (using Braille reader) for CompuServe as host for seven of its on-line forums(Political Debate, White House, Religion, Religious Issues, Christian Fellowship, and IBM Special Needs) where subscribers discuss particular topics; income based on time subscribers spend in her forums; regular membership of more than 200,000; called “Wizard” by CompuServe for being consistent, reliable source of information for subscribers; called “Net Queen” by New York Times

Graham 'G-Force' Hicks (England)


-two Guinness World Records for ‘G-Force Challenger’ quad-biking (104 MPH) and jet-skiing (from Wash to London): take full control of vehicle, with Pillion passenger to give navigational directions via touch based system (touch here/there to point in right direction), mutual trust between passenger directions and deafblind skills

-worked for DeafBlind UK, raising public awareness of deafblind potential and raising funds for vital deafblind services

Last, but not least…

Each and every one of us who has a dual sensory disability is a notable deafblind person. All visually-hearing-impaired people are determined and brave soldiers as we contend with the challenges of every minute of each day, striving to achieve our dreams, big and small.

I do feel for this young lady and her family. I would hope that she/they are afforded every possible resource to realize their full potential within this world, yet I have to wonder if a successful court proceeding is actually for the better of the whole.

In my mind selectivity results in loss of creativity

Resources: 061202_quadbike_world_speed_attempt.htm

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 08:32 PM
I wonder if the lawyers every asked her if the mother showed symptoms of Ruebella (also known as the 3 day measles)?

Many people do not even show the signs, so how on earth can they be so certain it is negligence on the doctors part? Sounds like a Lawyer out to make a fast buck if he can.

[edit on 11/10/2005 by shots]

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 08:36 PM

Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
If you've never heard of Helen Keller, I invite you to read the account of her remarkable life. I'm sorry for this person's plight, but the fact is that people have terrible things happen to them before and after birth. Many, if not most learn to adapt to one degree or another. A "wrongful life" suit is an outrage to common sense. No one can predict everything. My life hasn't been a bowl of cherries. Whom can I sue?
I totally agree with you. Life is NOT a box of chocolates.

Some people, however wont settle for less than a perfect birth and a perfect child. It was the Kennedy's who institutionalized one of their daughters and she died in a mental institution recently. She suffered from Dyslexia.
What a sad life.

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 08:57 PM
Rose Marie "Rosemary" Kennedy's condition seems to be somewhat more complex than dyslexia, although, she may well have suffered from that disability.

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 08:57 PM
Tell you what, I wanted a perfect birth and a perfect child.

After 36 hours of labor I had a C-section. And I absolutely had not wanted a C-section if I could help it. But the first thing on my mind was my child's safety.

I'm told that my son is behind in his fine motor skills (actually I disagree) and that he has a possible speech delay. So he's in occupational and speech therapy. And he's farsighted and has a lazy eye, and he's been wearing glasses since he was 2--and he knows how to put them on. Considering just about everyone in his family wears glasses, he's one of the club!

But he's a smart little rascal. One time, when he was 2, he wanted a blanket my husband had. So he got something, gave it to Daddy, and when Daddy reached for the item, our son snatched the blanket from him!
There's no question that he's intelligent.

I think the only useful purpose for prenatal testing is to prepare in case your child does have a disability. You can educate yourself on it and be prepared. I never had prenatal testing done--just an ultrasound, and my primary reason was to find out boy or girl.

BTW, I kinda like the name Alexia...then again my real name is Alexandra.

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 09:59 PM
[user removed and conveyed by U2U]

[edit on 11/10/2005 by 12m8keall2c]

posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 10:15 PM
Try putting glasses on a 2-year-old.

At first I had to wrestle with him to get them on, and I used a band to keep them on. Now he puts them on himself and leaves them on. He'll be 4 next month, and he's had them since spring of 2004.

His paternal uncle has a lazy eye. My younger sister is farsighted and I'm nearsighted. Poor kid.

He actually looks cute with glasses. My mother says my son looks like Harry Potter with them.

I guess after hearing about this girl's sorry case, my son is on Easy Street by comparison....


posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 12:09 AM
This type of ‘suit’ has never ending repercussions, different topic.

Originally posted by Amethyst
Try putting glasses on a 2-year-old.

Great point…lol…this is easier over time and later becomes much more co$tly.

To the thread (not speaking from a specific religious point; however there is an ethical place):

Simply by placing doctors ahead of ‘God’ [cultural ethics with the added weight of complete social responsibility etc] in a decision making process outside of an understood ***ethical mandate invites persons who are not intimate members of ones ‘family’ to make decisions about ones 'family' based upon anything other than 'ethics'.
***To easily understand the simplicity of ethics...ask children, preferably the youngest. If no children are available inside 'your family' ask the nearest.

Medically, risks are risk, oaths are oaths, percentages are percentages and doctors are just as human you.


posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 12:52 AM
im just curious if any of you have seen the movie Gattaca..

this is just the type of case to start opening the door to this type of thing.

ie , testing while pregnant to get the perfect child , gettin rid of the weak, only bringing the strong into the world.

in the movie gattaca, science has perfected genetics to the point of making perfect babies. anyone who is not born of this perfected genetics is looked down upon as inferior. i really think this type of case has the potential to unlock the door to this type of thinking with parents... if you knew you were gonna have a baby who had disabilities... it raises a whole new abortion question. this is not going to turn out well im afraid.

posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 01:02 AM
You all have brought up wonderful points and I enjoyed the personal stories
It's refreshing to see we're not ALL so superficial.
I hope they throw this case out. That "mother" ought to be ashamed of herself.

posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 04:13 AM
Why doesn't she sue her mother for becoming pregnant without taking every available precaution first? (Like getting vaccinated - duh!). Sue God for letting it happen while you're at it.

This kind of case is ridiculous but it has serious repercussions. If something like this flies it jeopardizes my health in that Doctors now have another thing to worry about being sued for. Cases like this could cause good Drs. to stay out of this specialty, and in some areas there are already shortages of good Drs.

Aside from the insult to what's left of our sensibilities in a case like this, I think this mother has to get over herself. I just hope this poor woman doesn't know her mother is suing a Dr. (on her behalf - give me a break) for being born. I can't imagine if I had a mother that would do that.

posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 08:35 AM
lawsuits like this make it even mroe difficult for people to afford to be doctors because of the liability insurance.... what happens when no one can afford to be a doctor... when you can't survive having a private practice... what will we do when no one wants to BE a doctor because of all the hassles....

posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 09:53 AM
it is ludicrus to have a wrongful life suit...
and useless to pursue damages...

the defense should just say, "sorry, but can do nothing for the unproven damages... we CAN fix that now though, anybody have a bullet, and we can put this right"
since the mother seems to think her daughter would be better off dead, then there is your solution...

liability in birth defects is really hard to prove... 9 out of 10 times it is the parents/genetics fault, but blamed upon the doctor.

posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 05:55 PM
Are we opening a door here that maybe should remain closed? Will parents who maybe used hardcore drugs early in their lifetime, quit them and later had disabled children, end up facing lawsuits from those children? And can we ultimately be certain what is the result of human action and what is just the result of the will of God?

The woman in the case above who had that disease without knowing, and had children who ended up disabled.... what if someone with that disease does know that they have it, and still takes the gamble of having children anyway. Should they be able to face lawsuits from their disabled children in the future as well? Should those with diseases or medical issues who have increased odds of having children who are disabled, be punished or sued for taking that chance regardless of the odds?

Maybe I'm getting off-topic here and if I am I'm sorry, but that's what first came to my mind when I saw this thread. I mean, is a doctor who failed to diagnose a disease anymore neglegiant than a parent who knows they have the disease, yet chooses to have children regardless?

posted on Nov, 14 2005 @ 12:11 PM
I don't think thats off topic rasputin and i definitely think its a logical point to be brought up.

I think this may case may open doors for other similar cases, but what remains to be seen is whether there will be a few of them and then someone will make a ruling that puts to rest the notion, or people will continue to win cases such as this.

A very dangerous precedent could evolve from this case. I think another question would be, what about parents who are perfectly healthy and have a child who is disabled? It's logical to question the ones who did something during pregnancy to cause the defect, but what about those that just happen? Is that a "wrongful life" situation? Again, the dangers of this case are very apparent , especially as we continue to learn many new things about genetics.

Certainly no one wants to have a disabled child, but it happens. This is one of those "playing god" situations. Will we gain the knowledge to know whether a child will be disabled before birth? I know we have this knowledge somewhat now, but I am talking early in the development of a fetus. Will this give rise to new abortion issues? I definitely think it will.

Either way I am keeping my eye on this case as the final ruling will have a future impact that could change the way we view life.

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