Disabled girl awarded life payments

18th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the medical and upbringing costs of a severely disabled girl should be paid for life by her hospital and the mother's midwife.

18 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the medical and upbringing costs of a severely disabled girl should be paid for life by her hospital and the mother's midwife.

Kelly, 11, was born in 1994 with severe learning difficulties and physical disabilities due to a chromosome defect. She cannot talk and only recently learned to walk. Her parents had requested tests to be conducted to determine if the baby had inherited diseases, but this was refused by the treating midwife.

There was a history of genetic abnormalities in the mother's family, but the midwife at the Leiden University Medical Centre said the woman did not come into consideration for a prenatal check. The midwife had asserted that the mother was young and already had a healthy child.

But the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the refusal was a professional error accident and the hospital and midwife were ruled accountable for the associated medical costs. The ruling confirmed those made by lower courts.

Both parents had indicated they would have been in favour of ending the pregnancy had tests indicated the foetus had genetic defects. The court ruling was an acceptance of Kelly's 'wrongful life' claim.

The Netherlands joins France as the only two European nations in which the highest court has given such a ruling, newspaper NRC reported. But the French government later made the ruling of a 'wrongful life' legally impossible.

Kelly's family will now be paid material and immaterial damages, but the court stressed that its ruling did not signify that Kelly's life was purely a case of damages. It also did not rule over the value of the child or its existence.

The awarding of damages was only in relation to the error made by the midwife in direct context with the fundamental rights of parents.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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