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AMA wades into lesbian court battle

By Thumper - 26 September 2007 25

Following much discussion regarding expensive twins, the SMH is reporting that the Australian Medical Association (AMA) is warning that the ACT risks becoming a litigation tourist destination if the law is not changed to prevent people suing over the birth of healthy babies.

This is after a lesbian couple sued a prominent Canberra doctor for the cost of raising one of their children.

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25 Responses to
AMA wades into lesbian court battle
noodle 9:51 pm 26 Sep 07

Sorry, make that ‘loving’ home. A lovely home is a bonus.

noodle 9:50 pm 26 Sep 07

This is a very sad case. But more than that I’m SHOCKED that in this day and age people are expressing opinions that same sex couples should be denied access to IVF procedures, and – worse – that same sex couples should not be allowed to be parents. Isn’t the best thing for kids to grow up in a lovely home? The gender of the parents is irrelevant.

Agree with Sepi’s points on this one.

sepi 9:06 pm 26 Sep 07

So say someone was a single mother, and then formed a lesbian relationship, what would you do – lock them up and foster out the child? Or just take the child away??

barking toad 8:40 pm 26 Sep 07

1. There should be no action available when the result is the birth of a healthy child
2. ACT should legislate this despite the malpractice squeaks from the usual suspects, ie, nohope and simon the sad
3. Same sex couples should be denied access to IVF procedures
4. Same sex couples should not be allowed to be parents

Maelinar 6:52 pm 26 Sep 07

OYM – Yes of course you idiot.

To paint an analogy: Joe Hotrod goes down to dodgy bros. to get a wind foil put on his car.

The wind foil is incorrectly installed and flips his car at high speed.

Dodgy Bros. aren’t responsible for the car flipping, the mutton who asked for the foil to be installed is.

boomacat 6:39 pm 26 Sep 07

To clarify my earlier comment, I meant to ask you BigDave, do you think that same sex couples should not be entitled to have kids? Do you think it’s appropriate to expect lesbians to engage in sex with men if it is psychologically and physically repugnant to them, and if it may lead to STIs?

My earlier comment was meant to come off as a question as to your position on these issues, I didn’t mean to accuse you of actually being a bigot, I just reread my comment and realised that it was a bit poorly drafted and might come off harshly.

My apologies – 🙂

sepi 6:26 pm 26 Sep 07

It’s really not the same thing as an appendectomy gone wrong.

This person voluntarily underwent a procedure that could have resulted in twins even if all her wishes were followed.

She also signed a form at an earlier stage, stating that two embryos could be transferred.

She then sued when this occurred.

The outcome isn’t totally unexpected and unrelated to the procedure. And her initial discussions (and contract signing) had indicated that she wanted the procedure that occurred.

She is partly to blame for any errors that occurred.

boomacat 6:24 pm 26 Sep 07

It is not surprising that the AMA is advocating abolishing the right to sue in cases such as these, it would result in lower professional indemnity insurance premiums and associated overheads for them and an increase in profits. It’s really as simple as that, they’re not advocating this in the best interests of their patients or children.

And to say that these people were perfectly capable of conceiving naturally and only went for IVF because they “chose” not to are the words of a bigot (or someone with a complete lack of knowledge about the birds and the bees). Two women can’t make a baby together, the thought of sex with a man might very well be repugnant to them (not to mention expose them to the risks of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis). If you think same sex couples aren’t entitled to have children, just come out and say it mate, at least have the courage to be honest about your bigotry.

All professionals (or their professional indemnity insurers) are liable to pay damages where negligence on their behalf causes injury to another, accountants, lawyers, engineers, why should doctors be any different?

The court will consider all the evidence and decide whether the doctor in this case was negligent, or whether he carried out his work to a professional standard in which case he is not liable to pay damages. The court is the appropriate forum to decide this question, not a bunch of ill informed selfishly motivated politicians.

OpenYourMind2 5:39 pm 26 Sep 07

Maelinar what does this comment mean? “but on the principle that they have elected to undertake a medical procedure that did not need to be done, they have waived their rights towards malpractice issues.”
Are you saying that nobody should be able to sue for elective surgery?
What also falls in this category, cosmetic surgery, contraceptive surgery (vasectomies etc.),routine elective surgery – where does it end?

caf 5:08 pm 26 Sep 07

As far as I can see it’s about whether or not the patient’s expressed wishes were followed, and if not, whether that was due to a reasonably preventable accident (personally I believe that if the doctor tried their best to take into account the patient’s wishes, and correctly followed the appropriate procedures and practices, then they shouldn’t be held accountable for an adverse result. All medical procedures entail some risk.)

The issue of whether monetary compensation is appropriate in this case is a seperate issue – but consider, what if a patient went into have an appendectomy and woke up pregnant? What remedy would you suggest in such a clear-cut case of negligence with a similar outcome?

GnT 4:55 pm 26 Sep 07

“IVF treatment should only be available for couples who genuinely can’t or are having trouble conceiving”

Um, I think the couple in question fall into this category quite nicely.

This case has nothing to do with thier sexuality. I don’t think this should become a debate about whether same-sex couples should be allowed to access IVF. The issues would be the same whether it were a hetero couple. That is:

Was the doctor negligent? and

Should the birth of a healthy child be considered a ‘damage’?

Personally, I hope they lose but that’s got nothing to do with them being gay.

Maelinar 3:36 pm 26 Sep 07

I partially agree with BigDave’s comment. I disagree that IVF should have been denied to the couple on the basis that they chose not to conceive naturally, but on the principle that they have elected to undertake a medical procedure that did not need to be done, they have waived their rights towards malpractice issues.

An interesting analogy Mrs Mælinar put towards me last night on the issue is the subject of surrogate mothers. What would be the outcome in this situation if the surrogate mother had 2 babies, but the adoptive parents only wanted 1 ?

IMHO, the surrogate mother would hold the rights to decide what to do with the additional child, although it beggars a little more ethically challenging debate than 2 professional meemee’s.

BigDave 3:23 pm 26 Sep 07

This whole thing is a complete pile of shite. For a start, IVF treatment should only be available for couples who genuinely can’t or are having trouble conceiving. These two individuals, (yes, individuals), do not fall into either category. They choose not to conceive naturally, therefore it’s tough and they should never have been offered the treatment. Secondly, if this farce does make it to court, the judge would do well to tell them the following. “We’re not going to give you the money you’re after, instead go home and spend a couple of weeks deciding which child you like best. In two weeks come back and let us know which one you’d like to keep. The other will be taken into care where it’ll be given a better home and upbringing than either of you can offer.”

Does anyone think that would change their greedy little minds?? As usual, the poor kids suffer most here but this gutter filth obviously don’t give a shit…

JD114 1:35 pm 26 Sep 07

The two levees involved in this sorry saga have about as much cred as OJ. “Not in it for the money”. yeah right, why claim $400,00 then. Why not just go for an apology, an explanation and a commitment by the IVF clinics to improve their procedures.

Pathetic really, and if the judgment ends up in favour of the levees then it might well join the hot coffee case in legal stupidity legends.

luke.downing 12:41 pm 26 Sep 07

A friend of mine is a patient of Dr Armellin’s, and has spoken at length about his commitment to his profession and to his patients. It would be unfortunate to see him conclude that perhaps the ACT is an unwise place to practice medicine following this case, as he has a great deal to contribute to our community and there are many people for whom his skills and commitment represent their chance at having a family…

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