Your quick, once-a-day look at disability rights, self-determination
and the movement toward full community inclusion around the world.

Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Year IV, Edition 151

This front page features 8 news and information items, each preceded by a number (#) symbol.
Click on the"Below the Fold" link at the bottom of this page for 40 more news items.

"It's about inclusion and recognising that disabled people have the same rights as everyone else to be employees, or to go to a pub with their mates."

--Britain's Disability Minister Maria Eagle, who is warning businesses in the United Kingdom that they have exactly one year to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (Second story)

"Do disabled children have a right to live? To us, it's about how disabled people's lives are valued. Even people with significant disabilities should not be terminated just because of those disabilities."
--Bob Kafka, ADAPT organizer, after the Texas Supreme Court tossed out a $60 million judgment against a hospital for keeping Sydney Ainsley Miller alive against her parents wishes (First story)



Sidney Miller "Wrongful Life" Case Overturned By State Supreme Court

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 1, 2003

AUSTIN, TEXAS--In a case closely watched by disability rights advocates, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that doctors do not need to have parental permission before taking emergency measures to save the life of infants with disabilities.

In a 7-0 ruling, the high court threw out the $60 million award given to Mark and Karla Miller. The couple had sued HCA Inc., the company that owns Women's Hospital in Houston after their daughter, Sidney Ainsley Miller was born four months premature in 1990.

The Millers claimed that doctors informed them before Sidney was born that she would likely have severe disabilities. But after she was born, doctors ignored their requests that "no heroic measures" be taken to keep Sidney alive. Doctors gave oxygen to the newborn through a throat tube because her underdeveloped lungs would not breath on their own.

Attorneys for the hospital argued that once Sidney was born, doctors were obligated to do whatever it took to keep her alive.

The state Supreme Court agreed with the hospital, noting that the courts and state law recognize parents rights, but that there are limits when it comes to withholding treatment.

A Harris County jury in 1998 awarded the $60 million to the Millers, but that award was thrown out on appeal. The Supreme Court ruling validates the appellate court decision.

"It was not a case of choice. She was born," said Bob Kafka, organizer of the disability rights group ADAPT. "Do disabled children have a right to live? To us, it's about how disabled people's lives are valued. Even people with significant disabilities should not be terminated just because of those disabilities."

Related article:
"Court rejects $60 million judgment for family that sued hospital" (Associated Press via Dallas Morning News)



Businesses Have One Year To Comply With Disability Law, Minister Warns

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 1, 2003

LONDON, ENGLAND--Disability minister Maria Eagle is reminding businesses that they have one year to comply with the United Kingdom's 1995 Disability Discrimination Act, or face possible court action.

For the past 8 years, businesses have known that they were to be accessible to people with disabilities by October 1, 2004, the date for the final phase of the DDA. The first phase in 1996 dealt with discriminatory treatment of people with disabilities. The second phase, in 1999, called on businesses to make "reasonable adjustments" for employees and customers with disabilities. The final phase requires businesses, regardless of their size, to eliminate physical barriers to inclusion.

"It [the DDA] has been implemented gradually," Eagle told the BBC. "Money's not everything -- more often it's about thinking what's needed and spending money in a wiser way."

Where should businesses go for advice on how to make their facilities more accessible?

"Ask your own disabled employees - and if you don't have any, why not?" Eagle asked.

Related article:
"'Wise up' warns disability minister" (BBC News)
"Q and A: The Disability Discrimination Act explained" (BBC News)



Appeals Court Upholds Injunction On Muscatatuck Moves

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 1, 2003

BUTLERVILLE, INDIANA--The Indiana Court of Appeals last week upheld elements of a lower court's injunction to slow the transfer of residents from Muscatatuck State Developmental Center, the Indianapolis Star reported Saturday.

Parents of people with developmental disabilities housed at the institution requested the injunction after the late Governor Frank O'Bannon announced in April 2001 that the aging facility would close by the end of 2003. O'Bannon's decision came, in part, because federal investigators had found repeated incidents of abuse, neglect and exploitation of Muscatatuck residents -- incidents which caused the federal government to cut payments to the state. State lawmakers had told O'Bannon that the state could not afford to invest in expanding community-based supports while continuing to fund the former Indiana Farm Colony for Feeble Minded Youth.

In their request for an injunction to halt the moves, the parents association accused the state of putting Muscatatuck's then-279 residents at risk of harm by closing the facility and moving them into the community.

The appeals court last week said the lower court was not specific enough when it ruled that the state could not pressure parents or guardians to transfer their family members from the institution, and that it could not keep the state from reducing staff levels. It did, however, uphold the lower court's ruling that certain standards must be met before residents can be moved.

The parents group, along with members of the state employees union, have lobbied lawmakers to delay closure until at least 2005.

Related resource:
"Trouble With Indiana Institutions" (Inclusion Daily Express)



Advocate's Death Pressures City To Act On Sidewalk Improvements

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 1, 2003

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA--On September 18, Fred Lupke was traveling in his motorized wheelchair down Ashby Avenue, when he was struck by a car and thrown some 50 feet.

Lupke, 58, survived in a coma until he died last Thursday.

Lupke was known in the Berkeley area as a strong advocate for people with disabilities and an active member of his community.

Now local disability advocates are calling for the city to widen and repair sidewalks in the area, suggesting that the lack of safe sidewalks forced Lupke to ride his wheelchair in the street where he was struck.

Related articles:
"Disabled Activist Hit by Car Dies After Week in Coma" (Daily Californian)
"Disabled Advocate’s Death Prompts City Action" (Daily Californian)



Sergeant Re-Enlisted After Losing Legs

October 1, 2003

WICHITA, KANSAS--The following three paragraphs are excerpts from a story in Tuesday's Wichita Eagle:

Slicing through the sky at 300 mph, Dana Bowman slammed into a fellow U.S. Army parachuting team member. Sgt. Jose Aguillon was killed in that 1994 accident in Arizona. Bowman lived -- his parachute opened on impact with Aguillon -- but his legs were severed.

In spite of the barriers that would come in the months and years ahead, Bowman never gave up on everything he had and everything he wanted to do.

Nine months after the accident as a member of the Golden Knights, he re-enlisted in the Army, making him the first double-amputee to do so. He returned to jumping and has made more than 700 jumps since the accident. He earned a college degree in commercial aviation and has become a pilot and flight instructor.

Entire article:
"Disabled Army sergeant shares his story" (Wichita Eagle)



U.S. Department of Commerce: Census Bureau

Census Bureau data on disability


# EXPRESS EXTRA!!! From the Inclusion Daily Express Archives -- One year ago:


High Court To Clarify ADA "Grey Area"

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 1, 2002

WASHINGTON, DC--When Congress passed the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, it said that small businesses -- defined as having 15 or more employees -- were required to follow the employment provisions under Title I of the law after July 26, 1994. Those provisions state that such employers cannot discriminate against workers with disabilities in how they hire, fire, train, recruit or pay them.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a case that could clarify who can and cannot be counted when deciding whether a company has 15 or more employees. The ruling could affect employees with disabilities that work for small businesses across the country.

The case involves Deborah Anne Wells who worked for Clackamas Gastroenterology Associates, P.C., for 11 years and was fired in 1997 because of her disability, described as "a debilitating tissue disorder". Wells claimed that she was demoted, then forced to resign.

Wells sued the clinic under the ADA. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a split decision, ruled that the clinic owners -- which include four doctors -- must be counted as employees. This would mean that the company has more than 15 employees and would have to comply with the ADA.

The case is Clackamas Gastroenterology Associates, P.C., v. Deborah Wells. The case number is 01-1435.

Related resource:
"Clackamas Gastroenterology Associates, PC v. Wells" (Inclusion Daily Express)


Check in with other Inclusion Daily Express readers:


Click here for the rest of today's disability-related news:


Tell your friends and colleagues about Inclusion Daily Express!

Inclusion Daily Express

Reprint guidelines:

© Copyright 2003 Inonit Publishing
3231 W. Boone Ave., # 711, Spokane, Washington 99201 USA
Phone: 509-326-5811
Dave Reynolds, Editor