Hey! This Little $h!t Costs Money!

Here is Ana Mejia — the face of post modern motherhood. I’m sure she tells herself she really sued a doctor for “wrongful birth” because killing her child would’ve been more humane than allowing him to be born into a cold cruel world where she now has to care for her son and expend loads of money. It’s all so unfair.

After nearly nine hours of deliberation over two days, a Palm Beach County jury today awarded a West Palm Beach couple $4.5 million to care for their son who was born with no arms and one leg.

With the heartbreaking image of the small boy etched into their minds, jurors found Palm Beach Gardens obstetrician Dr. Marie Morel, OB/GYN Specialists of the Palm Beaches and Perinatal Specialists of the Palm Beaches responsible for not detecting the boy’s horrific disabilities before he was born. The amount they awarded is half of the $9 million Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana were seeking for their son, Bryan.

The teary-eyed couple said they were overjoyed by the verdict. “I have no words,” Mejia said in her native Spanish. Both agreed the award will make a huge difference in their son’s life.

Do I sound a tad unfeeling? I’m not. I hurt immensely for their son. The one that will one day be old enough to know that his mother wishes he had died — no, that she had had a doctor rip him apart in her womb to save him the trouble of living a life that obviously is worthless — er… worth 9 million dollars… and of course to save him from the burden of the life that he will hopefully cherish despite his parents expressed wishes.

And get a load of the jury… the jury saw a “heartbreaking image” and found what… that the doctors were responsible for a horrible mistake rendering this poor boy with disabilities through their negligence? No… they looked at that boy and thought… “he should have been killed by his mothers doctor.” Think about that. Think hard. How do the incentives work here? Will this doctor now recommend abortion if there’s a slight possibility of disability instead of favoring life? How many “mistaken diagnoses” of disability will now die because of Mejia’s lawsuit victory?

Do I need to “walk a mile in her shoes” to see “the gray area” here? I agree there are many gray areas in life, but only a moral idiot is required to do that in some cases. “Difficult” and “unfair” are words that often precede evil acts — as well as bromides that bear the appearance of selflessness. Do I think Ana Mejia is evil? Not anymore than the rest of us by my lights I guess. But that’s scant comfort to Bryan and to the scores of babies who will now die in the name of risk mitigation.

23 comments to Hey! This Little $h!t Costs Money!

  • And I don’t mean to pretend that Ms. Mejia wasn’t in a difficult spot that made her decision difficult. I’ve had friends in similar spots. They made the right choice. I’ve had friends that made the wrong choice… their choice — consequences follow both choices to be sure. But we’ve lost our way when birth — any birth — is seen as a tragedy.

  • Tink in Cali

    Gotta love life in 2011. In California, you can apply to be paid by the state to care for your own special needs child, yet another way of taking any risk or personal responsibility out of someone’s everyday existence.

    As you said, what a great lesson this is for the medical community – when in doubt, cut it out. There are so many false positives in certain pre-natal tests anyway, I am sure there are countless “normal” babies aborted each year as well.

    Sometimes things don’t work out as you expect or plan. I hate the fact that in this modern society, many people don’t step up and do the right thing anyway.

  • goozer

    This HAS to be overturned on appeal. Though I am less than hopeful, considering our society…I really have no more words than these.

  • Daniel Crandall

    Before one penny is given to these folks, the couple and the jurors who awarded this sum should be forced to spend a month with Nick Vujicic. At least the Meija’s son has an arm. Nick doesn’t even have that.

    • Nick is an awesome speaker. He’s been to my church twice — incredible. Even if you’re not a believer… if he comes to your area and you want to feel encouraged about your life… Nick is the man for the job.

  • Dr.Schplatt

    Wow, I think there might be a little truth to this decision. While I don’t agree with the opinion that the child should not be alive, I’m kind of feeling that way about the mother. Would have saved a lot of trouble. The doctor would be feeling better, the state wouldn’t have needed to pay for the court costs, the child (whom the mother hates) wouldn’t have been born, and I wouldn’t be slapping myself over her selfish, stupid ass-hattery.

  • Daniel Crandall

    When this lovely child grows up, I’d really like to know how his parents are going to explain this part of this story to him: “Mejia and Santana claimed they would have never have brought Bryan into the world had they known about his horrific disabilities.”


  • Tracy,txmom2many

    I’m sad for them, they will answer, as we all will, at some point for this decision. There was a cheesy Christian song a while ago that talked about meeting all the people you touched for Christ by your prayers, words and actions. I shudder for them if the reverse is true also and they have to face the children who suffer for this.

    I have many friends who’ve gone out of their way to adopt children with special needs. Those children bring joy to their families and pull them closer to Jesus. They are constantly asked why they would go to so much trouble and expense for a damaged child. Most of them simply answer, “Because Jesus came for me.”

    Hell, *I’m* asked all the time why I have “all those children”, and all mine are healthy. Society doesn’t value them, they are viewed as liabilities, just one more thing keeping you from having/doing what ever your heart desires. My usual answer is “They keep me out of trouble.” I could file papers, gossip with my office mates, teach other people’s kids, cook other people’s food, fight other people’s fights or I could give birth to a soul for eternity and nurture a blessing from God. How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? – GK Chesterton

    The boy will have my prayers. I hope he one day knows the God that knitted him together and would never view any birth as wrongful. I hope he comes to a saving knowledge of Christ early and through that understands rightly his value to the Creator.

  • JJ

    What’s tragic is the reporter’s writing and spelling skills.

  • Penelope27

    I think the money should be placed in trust for the child with his adoptive parents taking care of him. Why would they allow these people to keep him? They have already said he (read they) would be better off with him dead. So if he has an “accident” who keeps the money? At this point, CPS would be a safer place for the child. No wonder doctors are getting out of this field.

    • -fritz-

      “The teary-eyed couple said they were overjoyed by the verdict. “I have no words,” Mejia said in her native Spanish. Both agreed the award will make a huge difference in their son’s life.”

      Or more precisely, the money will make a huge difference in their bank statements!

  • Stephanie

    Disgusting. Every time I see a story like this I think…maybe people who want kids should have to apply for a liscense. That woman has given up her rights to be a mother if she cannot see the beauty in that wonderful little soul. Oh..wait..she didn’t think he had one till he was born..am I right?

  • Mighty Skip

    Outside the points already mentioned, I think our society has greatly overestimated the power of science. And I say that as a scientist. It’s important to know the limitations. First of all, no scientific test is ever 100% accurate. I’m no ultrasound expert, but I can imagine that reading sonograms is not exact. Which is point two, all science, especially in relation to medicine and disease treatment, has a human component. Error is part of science; that is just the truth. Not only that, the family rejected amniocentesis (according to the article) even though they were warned there was a slight chance for Down Syndrome. They didn’t want to risk miscarriage, so obviously they were willing to roll the dice and give birth to a potentially mental disabled son. That argument was apparently rejected by the jury.

    I wonder if this is part of the “CSI effect”, where jurors have completely unrealistic expectations of the ability of science. The jury is just a small reflection of the larger society. I blame the politicizing of science; it somehow never dawns on people that you cannot accurate predict the path of a hurricane three days in advance but they are convinced climatologist can know with certainty what the temperature of the Earth will be hundreds of years in the future.

    • David Marcoe

      For the average person, there’s nothing in their mental toolbox to connect the pieces. Any discreet training in logic (and not that cheap replacement called “critical thinking”) has been banished from education. Other than some mental furniture supplied by popular culture, they have a “black box” perception of sciences, and little interior conception, not much short of superstition. With just the basics, a layman’s understanding of science would improve by an order of magnitude. Instead, we get perpetual calls for more math and science education, especially from scientists!

      • Dr.Schplatt

        Don’t get me started on how useless a majority of public education is in America. Most private education isn’t a whole lot better.

        America’s education system is a disaster and totally broken.

    • That over-estimation of what science is capable of ties in with the case in Italy where 7 scientists are being tried for failure to give warning of an earthquake. They could go to jail for being wrong.

      • As I tell my students when we discuss global warming and they cite to “science”. I tell them to be careful about blindly citing “science” because 600 years ago “science” said the Earth was flat and over 100 years ago “science” said that Blacks were genetically inferior to Whites.

        That last one especially punches them in the gut. I love it.

        • David Marcoe

          I tell them to be careful about blindly citing “science” because 600 years ago “science” said the Earth was flat…

          You might want to drop that example. The concept exists as far back as the sixth century BC among the Greeks and was proven by the third century (Eratosthenes, 276 BC – 195 BC, was the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth). In the introduction to his Summa Theologica, Aquinas gives the world being round as an example of common knowledge. as far as I know, there was only one obscure figure during the Middle Ages who asserted the world was flat and he was considered a crank.

          • True… I usually go with Copernicus but every once in awhile the “Columbus” myth pops out. That’s what happens when your whole life is one extemporaneous lecture. :-)

            Though it’s too bad this isn’t true history:

  • Magnus Caseus Formatis

    I hadn’t seen that one, before. That was good!

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