"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Calling King Solomons

Via the Associated Press, we have the latest in litigating the perversions of the natural law:

In what is being called a "wrongful birth" case, a jury awarded more than $21 million Monday to a couple who claimed a doctor misdiagnosed a severe birth defect in their son, leading them to have a second child with similar problems.

Daniel and Amara Estrada, whose two young sons aren't able to communicate and need constant care, sought at least enough money to care for the second child, 2-year-old Caleb.

The couple claimed that Dr. Boris Kousseff failed to diagnose their first son's genetic disorder, called Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, which is the inability to correctly produce or synthesize cholesterol, after his 2002 birth.

Had the disorder been correctly diagnosed, a test would have indicated whether the couple's second child also was afflicted and they would have terminated the pregnancy, according to the lawsuit.


The nub is that the genetic mistake who is Caleb Estrada would simply have been erased in his mother's womb, if only they had known. I imagine the philosopher-king Solomon would've offered the plaintiffs the choice of killing the baby now or surrendering him to the protection of the state, and we all know how that one would come out.

Still, these are strange days and they'll continue to get stranger as science and modern philosophy stand astride nature yelling, "Go!" Moral judgments must keep up with the times:

The doctor clearly committed medical malpractice, which is bad, and in their defense, the Estradas putatively want to raise Caleb in their family environment---putatively with as much love and respect for his human dignity as they can shower on him---which is good.

As for the legal details, by Florida statute since a state institution was involved, Caleb's parents cannot collect $21+ million, only $200,000. Their lawyer hopes for a way around that---by custom and practice he gets one-third, but that's OK. Despite the perverted circumstances, I say justice is served, although $200K is too low but $21M could care for a number of Calebs, so you have to wonder what the jury was up to.

Ah, for the day when two mothers, one baby, and a philosopher-king with a sword made for a relatively easily-solvable equation. The challenge of this age is a lot tougher.

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