John Edwards vs. Babies and Moms

March 21, 2007  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Weblog

John Edwards, being neither a woman nor a racial minority, isn't doing especially well in his campaign to become his party's candidate for president. Alas for him, if he were half as successful in campaigning for America's top job as he was as a trial lawyer, he might be sworn in tomorrow. As I report in The American Spectator Online, Edwards won at least 94 cases, according to Lawyers Weekly, of which 54 netted more than $1 million each. Normally attorneys take a 40 percent cut of cases that go to trial. In his last year as a practicing attorney, 1997, he reported an adjusted gross income of $11.4 million.

Of course, perhaps he deserved it - but he didn't. He specialized in a particularly scummy area of malpractice, blaming Ob/gyn doctors for cerebral palsy. In fact, a 2003 study evaluated almost 1,000 life births to see if cerebral palsy or other problems could by affected by type of birth. Conclusion: "Delivery mode (whether vaginal or cesarean delivery) was not associated with any of the outcomes that were evaluated."

Yet malpractice suits against doctors with the misfortune to deliver CP babies has caused their insurance rates to rocket and to engage in "defensive medicine," by resorting to cesarean deliveries when they're actually not needed. Other research has shown that cesareans increase the risk of death and other problems for both mother and child; yet such procedures are skyrocketing. Many cesareans are the mother's preference because of convenience of timing or wanting to avoid the pain of labor; but no mother should be given one because trial lawyers roam the land telling all parents that if you didn't get a perfect baby the doctor must have screwed up.