After public outrage over a parent’s report that Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia denied her 3-year-old disabled daughter a kidney transplant because she is “mentally retarded,” the hospital released an apology Wednesday.
Chrissy and Joe Rivera told a story in January on an Internet blog and through multiple media that one of the hospital’s doctors told them their daughter Amelia “Mia” Rivera should not have a transplant because of her mental disability.
After Internet petitions signed by people across the country in support of Mia, at the end of January the hospital gave the Stratford, N.J., family hope that it is willing to consider a transplant, and on Wednesday CHOP officially apologized.
“As an organization, we regret that we communicated in a manner that did not clearly reflect our policies or intent and apologize for the Riveras’ experience,” Michael Apkon, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at CHOP said in a statement. “We are completely committed to the careful review of our processes and written material to ensure that we are sensitive to the needs of all families, including the specific needs of families of children with disabilities.”
Despite the apology, there has been no official decision to give Mia the kidney transplant surgery she needs yet. From the beginning, the Riveras have been planning to find a donor for Mia among family members, not from the national waiting list.
"Despite an unfortunate encounter a few weeks ago, we hold the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in high regard," Joe and Chrissy Rivera said in the statement. "We've had a three-year relationship with the hospital and are pleased with the care that Amelia has received. Our hope is that this experience will heighten the medical community's sensitivity to and support for the disabilities community."
Mia is mentally disabled from a condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome.