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Severely disabled woman granted temporary visitation rights

Last Friday, a Los Angeles judge issued a temporary ruling giving a mother who was brain-damaged in 2006 from medical errors during childbirth the right to see her children.

The visitation order, which is only temporary as there is yet to be a trial on the case, is a victory for 34-year-old Abbie Dorn and her parents, who have been fighting for her right to visit her four year old triplets.

Dorn currently lives with her parents in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The two, a physician and a former nurse, act as conservators of their daughter’s estate and care for her on a full time basis.

Last year, Abbie’s parents told CNN feel that their daughter had made great progress after intensive rehabilitation, that she now communicates primarily by blinking her eyes and that she has indicated her desire to see her children.

Dorn’s ex-husband and her parents disagree over whether she has the ability to interact with her children, and whether it is in their best interests to visit her. Her ex-husband expressed to the court last week that he wants his children to see their mother when they are a couple years older, and he has also requested medical evidence that she is able to communicate with them.

In December 2010, Abbie had contact with her children when they visited her in South Carolina over a four day period. Prior to that time, she hadn’t seen them since October 2007.

On Friday, the judge ruled in favor of Dorn and her parents, noting that she is no threat to the children, and does retain some ability to communicate, by smiling and blinking. The judge also noted that after the children made their December visit to their mother, the husband gave them a photograph of her, which they held onto for a long time afterward. He noted that the children seem to have already bonded with their mother.

The court rejected the argument made by the disabled woman’s ex-husband that it would not be in the best interests of the children to see their mother in her present condition.

The temporary order grants Dorn the right to see her triplets over five days each summer, as well as once per month online through Skype.

Sources didn’t indicate when trial on the case will be held.

Source: CNN, “Severely disabled mother wins visitation rights,” 25 Mar 2011.