Letters: At-Home Care For Disabled Children
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
We focused on Olivia Welter. She is severely disabled since birth, and she just turned 21. Her entire life, she's been cared for at home by nurses and by her parents. The state of Illinois says it will continue to pay for her care if she is in a nursing home. But her family doubts she'll get the kind of care that she needs to stay alive, and they are suing to keep her where she is.
TAMARA WELTER: I've had doctors, a couple of doctors, who have questioned doing something for Olivia, kind of on the basis of: Is she worth it?
SIEGEL: Don't you dare say that to me. Do you have children? What would you do for your child? I think society can look at a person like Olivia and say: What can she contribute? But - I'm going to cry again.
SIEGEL: Well, Samuel Leonard of Cheverly, Maryland is one of several listeners who had a similar reaction to the story. He writes this: Taxpayers should not have to pay anything for a child like Olivia. If Olivia's parents could afford to pay for this treatment, I cannot argue with their right to do so. If they cannot, how can they ask the rest of us to support their child?
SIEGEL: What can Olivia contribute to society? I realize this is a difficult question, but answer it we must.
SIEGEL: Well, you can send us your comments about anything you hear on the program at npr.org. Just click on contact us at the bottom of the page.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.