Neonatology and the Rights of Families

Bill Silverman


Requests for assistance and advocacy.

Narof tries to give what support it can to families and professionals who need assistance with advocacy and legal preperations. Many of our members have been involved in protracted legal battles and willingly give of their time and experience to support others in similar circumstances.


Taken from the Appeal decision:
"The narrow question we must decide is whether Texas law recognizes a claim by parents for either battery or negligence because their premature infant, born alive but in distress at only twenty-three weeks of gestation, was provided resuscitative medical treatment by physicians at a hospital without parental consent. The court of appeals, with one justice dissenting, held that neither claim could be maintained as a matter of law because parents have no right to refuse urgently-needed life-sustaining medical treatment for their child unless the child’s condition is “certifiably terminal” under the Natural Death Act ..."
( Sidney Ainsley Miller, by and Through Her next Friend Karla H. Miller, and Karla H. Miller and J. Mark Miller, Individually v. Hca, Inc., Hca-hospital Corporation of America, Hospital Corporation of America and Columbia/Hca Healthcare Corporation - Appeal Decision)

My name is Mark Miller. my daughter is Sidney. I sincerely appreciate your offer to write a letter on our behalf. You can read the decision by going to the link or going to and clicking on the 9/30/03 opinions

After you read the opinion, i think you will be able to see that the court took 18 months for the texas supreme court to rewrite 150 years of texas law. they strip away the rights of parents to make health care decisions for their children in this landmark opinion.

The hospital ( HCA-Columbia ) argued to the supreme court that a fetus has no rights until it is born. that would be an expansion of the roe v wade decision, and against every other written opinion by this court in the past.

The basis for the opinion appears to be this was an emergency situation, a defense that was rejected at the trial court who heard all the evidence, and this court felt it needed to protect doctors from litigation and accountability. we did not suit any doctor in our case, yet the court went on about the need to protect the profession.

The treating physicians knew of the outcome of the tragic miscarriage 11 hours before the birth, and detailed to us exactly what our child's condition would be. the hospital administrator selected and ordered a neonatologist, that we had never met to attend the birth and to "resusitate any child with a birth weight over 500 grams, as a matter of hospital policy." for the supreme court to hold otherwise, as a matter of law, is a fiction so transparent that it exposes the true political nature of this court and it's reasons for such a blatently bad opinion.

The author of this opinion reveals his contempt for the intelligence of the family and the american public. it is meaningless to say that parents have the right to decide medical treatment for their children, even before birth if you also say that any treatment given at birth is ok because the child can't be properly assessed until birth. this opinion makes every birth an emergency.

I hope you will take the time from your busy schedule to write a letter to the court, and copy these important folks..... the Editor of the Austin American Statesman in Austin, Texas, Tennessee Senator Bill Frist, and to the Chairman of the Board of Columbia HCA Hospital.

I will be happy to visit with anyone in your group, at any time to discuss the events that lead up to this opinion, and the repercussions of such a poor evaluation of the facts in this case. when you see and hear on the news about " judicial activism " and how the citizens need to be aware of judges writing legislation from the is a practical example of that practice in black and white. this court and these justices have taken facts that our jury found against the hospital ( not physicians ) and used spin to write an opinion that protects doctors from the liability of their actions, even when ordered to act over the express wishes and with no consent to treat from the parents.

Any help, from any person that knows this was a political opinion and has no relation to the specific underlying case that that the miller's attorneys won at the trial court, would be great to hear from. please give them my e-mail address and my home address. we are all fighting an uphill battle and need your support !


Mark Miller

Also available:

Commentary on the Messenger Case - Helen Harrison PDF



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