Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Birth injury fund is a good idea [Letter]

The article, "Birth injury fund sought" (Feb. 9), brought back memories of a fight my husband, Dr. John M. Freeman, waged from 1985 until his death on January 3. As chair of a National Institutes of Health committee to determine prenatal and perinatal factors associated with brain disorders, John was thrown into efforts to define the causes of mental retardation, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

The first sentence of the committee's 1985 report stated "much of what we 'know' about the prenatal and perinatal causes" of these disorders "should no longer be taught." For example, John later wrote, it has become increasingly clear that we do not know the cause of most children's cerebral palsy. New evidence, he said, indicates that infections during pregnancy may account for much of what had been blamed on preventable asphyxia. He did not believe that "injuries" at the time of birth were a primary cause.

With the help of our son, attorney Andrew D. Freeman, John wrote several health policy articles advocating "no-fault birth-related neurologic injury compensation." He believed that all families burdened with children with these conditions should receive aid, not just those who won the "malpractice lottery." He also became involved in efforts to develop no-fault fund bills in several states, including North Carolina, New York and Maryland where bills were introduced in 1986, 1987 and 2005.

As I recall, the 2005 bill was doomed when its opponents brought nurses and lawyers from Virginia to testify against it, claiming that Virginia's no-fault bill prevented families from receiving aid they were due. John believed that neither the Virginia nor Florida bills achieved their intent for predictable reasons related to their restrictive language.

Del. Dan Morhaim deserves much credit for reopening the battle to find a solution to the current situation which benefits a few patients and their attorneys while ignoring the many families requiring and deserving assistance.

Elaine Freeman, Ruxton

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • More study needed on birth injury bill [Editorial]
    More study needed on birth injury bill [Editorial]

    Our view: Proposed alternative to litigation for birth injuries is promising but poses enough questions to warrant more study by the General Assembly

  • Birth injury fund would let bad doctors off the hook [Letter]
    Birth injury fund would let bad doctors off the hook [Letter]

    A recent article reported that Maryland is considering legislation to establish a state fund to compensate babies born with brain injuries, similar to Virginia's law ("Maryland bill would create birth injury fund," Feb. 10). This would be a mistake.

  • Maryland bill would create birth injury fund
    Maryland bill would create birth injury fund

    Some hospitals seek legislation to help with malpractice

  • CIA interrogators should not be punished
    CIA interrogators should not be punished

    I strongly suggest anyone who agrees with letter writer Max Obuszewski's idea to punish the CIA personnel who did their job under the direction of our government read about the torture inflicted upon our own troops in past wars and conflicts ("Failure to punish the CIA torturers means they will...

  • Revisit 'old-school' police programs
    Revisit 'old-school' police programs

    The recent influx of citizen unrest due to a rash of officer-related homicides has left the American citizenry skeptical of the greater good police departments bring to communities nationwide, especially that of traditionally violent neighborhoods that tend to have a majority of minority...

  • Torture can never be justified
    Torture can never be justified

    The Senate report's summary of the "enhanced interrogation" techniques the CIA used on terrorist detainees after 9/11 reads like something from a horror novel ("CIA strikes back after Senate torture report," Dec....

Comments
Loading