A federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is underway against a hospital and several doctors for allegations of disability discrimination. The investigation follows an ordeal in which two parents had to fight doctors to get their son a heart-saving transplant after they believed doctors had provided them with false information about why they were not recommending a heart transplant.
The baby was born with a severe heart condition. From the moment the condition was discovered when the baby was still in-utero, the parents had to make difficult decisions to try to save his life. When he was just a few weeks old, doctors decided that he would not be a good candidate for a heart transplant which could save his life, because of the other disabilities that the child would live with going forward. However, they told his parents that the reason he was not being recommended for a transplant was because he was at risk for infections and tumors because of his current condition.
In this case, the family was able to use the internet to find the information that they needed and confirm that the doctors were saying one thing and thinking another. Patients and their families who can become informed and become more active participants in their medical care often find positive results. For this family, getting involved and doing their own research was the crucial step that was needed to save the life of their baby.
When doctors give inaccurate advice or cover up the truth of a medical condition, that can be considered medical malpractice. Even in cases like this where it seems that doctors were attempting to do the right thing, patients have a right to make a fully informed choice about their treatment.
Source: WTVR.com, "Mom says doctors denied her baby heart transplant over disability," CNN Wire, Dec. 2, 2013