A South Carolina woman who was the victim of a grave medical malpractice error is now fighting for regular visitation rights with her children – against the wishes of her ex-husband. The story of the South Carolina lawsuit, which has received national media coverage, is tragic, but it also offers a window into the shattered lives of those who have been victims of medical malpractice.

The medical malpractice birth injury occurred four years ago, when Abbie Dorn and her then-husband Daniel Dorn discovered that they were expecting triplets. During the difficult birth, however, Dorn suffered from severe internal bleeding, which then escalated into a heart attack. With her heart stopped and her brain deprived on oxygen, the young women – who badly wanted to be a mother – suffered severe brain damage. Medical professionals took 20 minutes to resuscitate the new mother, but by that time Dorn had what many agree is permanent brain damage. A birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit followed, and now Dorn’s parents, Paul and Susan Cohen of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, take care of their disabled daughter using their $7.8 million medical malpractice lawsuit. Dorn requires around-the-clock care.

Dorn can no longer speak or care for herself, though many say she understand what is going on around her and that she has made considerable progress since the medical error. However, her former husband does not want her to have access to their three four-year-old children, saying that they would be traumatized to know that she existed in such a state. The visitation lawsuit is the subject of much controversy.