THE PRICE OF "WRONGFUL BIRTH": $21 MILLION

A Florida couple's first child, a son, had his disabling genetic defect misdiagnosed, so a doctor employed by the state told the family their future children would not be at risk. But the doctor was horribly wrong, and now the couple's second child, another boy, has been born with the same disability, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome. Among a host of problems, the two boys cannot communicate with others. The parents sued the state, claiming that:

[h]ad 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. . .

Now a jury has awarded $21 million to the couple, though since the verdict went against the state, and state law limits claims against its agencies to $200,000, the Florida legislature will have to pass a special law to pay the family. Sadly, we don't love their odds.

49362mHEY, IS DISNEY.COM MAKING FUN OF OUR KIDS?

Disney.com sent us an e-mail about a clearance sale this morning, so we rushed to order some priced-to-move branded items, including a pair of Power Rangers PJs for Fellow, which was promoted with this line:

     He'll save the world every night in his dreams!

BABE IN THE WOODS (INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE KIDS)

Good help is especially hard to find in the Syracuse area, where a 20-year-old is up on charges of several counts of endangering the welfare of a child after she left the four girls she was babysitting to meet a pal in the woods and pose for some nude pictures.

A man fishing saw the children crying and called police. When police arrived, the oldest girl — a six-year-old — told police that "Aunt Michelle" went into the woods to take "nasty pictures."

1967: SUMMER OF LOVE.
2007: SUMMER OF SCHNORRERS

Time Out New York/Kids' cover feature this month lists 50 things you can do for free with the kids in New York City during the month of August. The list rehashes many of the old reliables (this just in: public parks and pools are always free) but also provides a valuable public service by telling you when many typically non-free city attractions offer free admission (South Street Seaport Museum, third Friday of the month; Jewish Museum, every Saturday morning; Bronx Zoo, Wednesdays; Botanical Garden, Wed. and Sat. AMs). See the complete list here.

ADDING INSULT TO INJURY, THIS WAS THE FIRST ARTICLE WE READ AFTER WAKING UP AT 5:30 AM WITH A MASSIVE LEG CRAMP FROM A TWO-MILE WALK ON THE BEACH THE NIGHT BEFORE

FD and family recently went on vacation to Cape Cod, while still providing you the reader with the sporadic posts you've come to expect from the House of Ideas. Toward the end of our week away, feeling heavier and more exhausted than when we left home, we cracked open the paper and found this:

All Child-Play and No Workouts Make Dad an Unfit Boy

. . . . A first-of-its-kind study released in May by the University of Pittsburgh concluded that parenthood demonstrably reduces physical activity, while marriage has only a negligible effect. . . . Men, in particular, were affected.

WHEN GOOD AUDUBON SOCIETIES GO BAD

Sanclocator2Speaking of our vacation, here's one of the highlights: A family hike around the grounds of the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary. The popular self-guided Goose Pond trail works like this: You pick up a pamphlet at the main desk, which has text corresponding to 49 numbered posts throughout the walk. If you're doing the trail with kids, they might do what Fellow and Tiny did—run ahead and locate each numbered post. For example, while we were reading about #12: Lichens with Fellow, Tiny was already down the path, calling out, "Here's 14! Here's 14!" We looked up and saw her leaning against post #14, which was covered by leaves in clusters of three. Sure enough, according to the pamphlet, it was Rhus radicans—poison ivy.

Now why would an Audubon Society leave poison ivy growing directly onto its trail path, without at least posting a sign maybe 10 feet in front of it saying, maybe, Don't touch? Why, on a self-guided tour clearly intended for families, would they set up a scenario in which kids could unknowingly touch poison ivy? Well, we asked those and other questions to some passing Audubon guides, who seem never to have considered the problem and had no particular thoughts on it, other than to advise us to bring Tiny back to their HQ for a thorough washing. Back at the visitors' center, Loving Mother confronted the station's director with the same line of inquiry and got at least some acknowledgment that it was less than brilliant to have the poison ivy so poorly marked. For which she thanked them as she entered the ladies room and began scrubbing Tiny's legs. (Update: She did not have a reaction to the plant.)

WHAT WILL CHINA PUT IN ITS CONSUMER PRODUCTS NEXT? NO KIDDING—FUNGUS? WOW, THAT WAS JUST A RHETORICAL QUESTION, BUT THANKS

In a related development, China's Ministry of Health announced Wednesday a recall of two brands of diapers made by manufacturers in the northern province of Hebei, and in Fujian province in the south. It did not say if the diapers had been exported, but said the brands were popular in rural areas. A spot check of rural shopping centers revealed that batches of infant diapers sold under the brand names Haobeir and Jinglianbangshuang contained excessive amounts of fungus, a statement posted to the central government's official Web site said. It did not say how much over the limit the diapers were, or whether they had caused problems for any children.

July 24, 2007 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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