Click For Home PageInclusion Daily Express Logo

International Disability Rights News Service
Click here for today's headlines

Keeping advocates informed, inspired and connected since 1999.
Click here for daily or weekly delivery . . . OR
Try Inclusion Daily Express for two weeks FREE . . .

Sidney Miller's Right To Be Born

"Most adults with disabilities, including those who have had a disability since birth, choose life and have quality in their lives. Most parents of children with disabilities value and believe their children's lives have quality."
--From a legal brief filed by several disability rights groups in a the Sidney Miller case (March 22, 2002)

"I don't want anyone telling me my daughter's life is wrong, especially the Texas Supreme Court."
--Colleen Horton, demonstrating outside the room where the state's high court heard arguments in the Sydney Miller case (April 5, 2002)

October 1: Sidney Miller "Wrongful Life" Case Overturned By State Supreme Court
March 27: Sidney Miller's Right To Life

June 14: "Who Has The Right To Decide When To Save The Sickest Babies?"
April 5: Protesters Rally Outside Courtroom In Sydney Miller Hearing
March 22: Groups Support Rights Of Children With Disabilities In "Wrongful Life" Case

Miller v. HCA Inc (Texas Supreme Court)

Groups Support Rights Of Children With Disabilities In "Wrongful Life" Case
March 22, 2002

WACO, TEXAS--Twenty disability rights organizations from Texas and across the United States filed a legal brief Thursday supporting the rights of children with disabilities to receive the same medical care as all other children.

In the case of Miller v. HCA, the parents of 11-year-old Sidney Ainsley Miller claim that their child represented a "wrongful life" and sued a hospital for providing standard care that enabled Sidney to survive.

The disability rights groups are filing the amicus brief, also known as a "friend of the court" brief, arguing that Sidney should have had the same treatment and protections guaranteed to people without disabilities.

"We represent people with disabilities of all ages and families of children with disabilities, throughout Texas and across the nation, and we call upon this Court to unequivocally affirm the equal value of our lives under the law," the brief reads.

The amicus brief filed by ADAPT and other organizations focuses on the following four points:
1. Medical treatment discrimination against children with disabilities is widespread.
2. Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act would have been violated if hospital had withheld appropriate medical treatment.
3. American Medical Associations ethical requirements would have been violated if hospital had withheld appropriate medical treatment.
4. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 would have been violated if hospital had withheld appropriate medical treatment.

The Texas Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case on April 3.

More details are available at this Webpage:

Click here for top of this page

Protesters Rally Outside Courtroom In Sydney Miller Hearing
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 5, 2002

WACO, TEXAS--The Texas Supreme Court Wednesday heard arguments in the case of Sidney Miller, an 11-year-old girl whose parents claim a hospital was negligent by keeping her alive after she was born.

Dozens of activists -- many with disabilities -- protested outside the courtroom at Baylor University where the justices heard the case. Spectators packed the 140-seat courtroom while some watched the hearing on closed-circuit television in another room.

Sidney was born more than 4 months prematurely in 1990. Before her birth, staff at Women's Hospital in Houston told Sidney's parents that she might be born with a number of disabilities. The Millers said they did not want any "heroic" measures to be taken to save Sidney's life.

The hospital stood by its policy that any newborn of Sidney's size must be revived. Doctors used a throat tube to pump air into Sidney's lungs to keep her alive.

Sidney's parents say using the tube made the girl have a brain hemorrhage that caused her blindness and mental retardation. They sued the hospital and its parent company, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., claiming the hospital was negligent for keeping their newborn daughter alive. The jury awarded the couple $60 million.

But that judgment was reversed by an appeals court which ruled that the parents could only refuse treatment if the baby was not expected to live. The Millers want the original judgment to be followed.

Many disability rights advocates see the case as one that could reinforce the idea that it is better to be dead than to have a disability. More than 20 disability groups have filed a "friends of the court brief" supporting the hospital's decision to keep Sidney alive.

"It's not right to allow disabled children to die," explained John Hoffman, a member of the disability rights group ADAPT.

The court will make its decision later.

This link should redirect you to a related story from the Waco Tribune-Herald:

Click here for top of this page

"Who Has The Right To Decide When To Save The Sickest Babies?"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 14, 2002

AUSTIN, TEXAS -- When Mark and Karla Miller made their way to the Texas Supreme Court in early April they were met by two dozen disability rights advocates.

The advocates, many in wheelchairs, were angry because of a lawsuit the Millers had filed against doctors who worked to save the life of their daughter Sidney.

Sidney was born premature on August 17, 1990 -- 17 weeks before the usual 40 weeks. Because she was born alive and was considered a "viable" person the medical personnel were required to do everything they could to save Sidney's life.

Nearly 12 years later, Sidney is alive and well, but has a number of disabilities that require a lot of personal care.

Mark and Karla Miller sued the hospital claiming they, as parents, should have had the right to decide whether doctors should have tried to save Sidney's life.

Many disability rights advocates believe that the Miller's suit promotes infanticide -- the murder of babies -- particularly of those with disabilities.

"There's much more to this [decision] than the legal battle and the multi-million dollar award," Colleen Horton, a children's policy specialist at the Texas Center for Disability Studies, wrote recently.

"It's about what we value and respect. It's about the slippery slope that this would create. It's about arbitrary decisions about which child gets to live and which child will die. What kind of society have we become when we begin measuring the value of the life of a child by what could happen in the future?"

Click here for top of this page

Have the latest disability rights news delivered to your email Inbox every week day.
Subscribe to Inclusion Daily Express today!

Get your news here!

Inclusion Daily Express
3231 W. Boone Ave., # 711
Spokane, Washington 99201 USA
Phone: 509-326-5811
Copyright © 2007 Inonit Publishing