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Friday, March 25, 2011

Legal battle for jewish woman left paralysed after giving birth to triplets whose ex-husband won't let her see them

Abbie and her husband Dan pictured on their wedding day. He divorced her in 2007 because he did not believe she would ever recover



She is the mother of three happy, healthy triplets whose smiling photos line the walls of her room in South Carolina.

But Abbie Dorn, 34, has held her children only twice in the four years since she sustained terrible brain damage giving birth to the triplets - because her ex-husband refuses to let her see them.

Dan Dorn, who cares for the children 2,500 miles away in California, says it would traumatise them to visit their quadriplegic mother, who cannot speak, eat or move.

But Mrs Dorn's parents say her condition doesn't mean she loves the children any less, and have fought an acrimonious legal battle to win visitation rights for their daughter.

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In court: Dan Dorn, seated, in court today listening to his wife's attorney Lisa Helfend Meyer


A judge at the Los Angeles Superior Court will make a decision after listening to the closing arguments from both sides today in an acrimonious hearing, in which her parents, Susan and Paul Cohen, argued their daughter has a constitutional right to motherhood.

They say she expresses her emotions by smiling and crying, and can blink to communicate, with one long blink representing a yes.

Last year an ABC reporter asked her if she wanted to see her children. She responded a long, firm blink.

But Mr Dorn insists his ex-wife is '100 per cent not there' and says he does not want to be 'forced to do anything by the court for a woman in a vegetative state', the Los Angeles Times reports.

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Abbie Dorn's parents show her pictures of her triplets. They are fighting for their daughter to be granted access to the children

During the hearing, he revealed he had not told his children anything about their mother until they were four, and admitted he did little to prepare them for their first meeting with her in December.

The judge's verdict will only be temporary, with a full trial on the Cohens' parental rights lawsuit expected to be brought at a later date.

The heartbreaking events which led to the Californian courtroom began in June 2006, when she gave birth to the triplets, Reuvi, Yossi and their sister Esti.

She and her husband, both Orthodox Jews, had struggled to conceive and turned to IVF to grant Mrs Dorn her dream of having children.

She had the first two babies without incident, but as the doctor was delivering Yossi, he accidentally nicked her womb.

Mrs Dorn began bleeding internally, her heart stopped, the defibrillator they used went wrong and her brain was deprived of oxygen for so long she was left paralysed.

She could no longer speak or move, and required round-the-clock care. She later received a malpractice settlement of almost $8million.

For the first year, she was treated at a hospital in California, and her husband visited 'all the time', according to Mr and Mrs Cohen.

But after 12 months, Mr Dorn began to believe his wife would never recover. He announced was divorcing her in 2007, on their children's first birthday, saying he was 'faced with the necessity of beginning to rebuild his life'.

Mr and Mrs Cohen took their daughter back to the family home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to care for her, while the children remained with Mr Dorn in Los Angeles.

Since then she has seen the triplets only once, in December, when Mr Dorn agreed to make the journey to South Carolina as part of a failed settlement deal.
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Happiness: Abbie Dawn pictured as a teenager. Her parents say she should be allowed to see her children grow up


According to her parents, the visit went well and the children were not afraid of their mother, despite her feeding tube and hospital bed.

Mrs Cohen said: 'They were very very affectionate and loving. They called her Mommy.'
Mr Dorn disagreed. Although he admitted the children said they enjoyed seeing their mother, he claimed Reuvi began wetting the bed and he and his sister became clingy, the Los Angeles Times reports.

But in his testimony he also said he had done little to prepare them, telling the children their mother would not be aware of their presence, and had not spoken to their doctor afterwards to help them to cope.

He blames his mother-in-law for the ongoing litigation, and said he is refusing to share the responsibility of raising his children with his mother-in-law rather than not allowing them to see his ex-wife.

According to the Los Angeles Times he told the court: 'I'm here today because of Susan. [ Her actions have] been a constant: trying to ruin my reputation, bankrupt me and take my children.'

But Mrs Cohen said: 'Their mother does love them. She loves them very much. I don't want these children to ever, ever believe they were abandoned...

'Our home is always open. We would never throw a child away.'





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L.A. TIMES

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a paraplegic woman who communicates by blinking has the right to see her 4-year-old triplets.

In a tentative 10-page ruling, Judge Frederick C. Shaller said that Abbie Dorn, 34, can see her daughter, Esti, and sons Reuvi and Yossi, for a five-day visit each year pending a trial in the acrimonious custody case. She also entitled to a monthly online Skype visit. A trial date has yet to be set.

“We are thrilled,” said Felicia Meyers, one of Dorn’s attorneys.

Although “there is no compelling evidence that the visitations by the children will have any benefit to Abby,” Shaller wrote, “…there is no compelling evidence that visitation with Abby will be detrimental to the children.”

Dorn was healthy until June 20, 2006, when she gave birth to the children at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. During delivery, a string of medical errors starved her brain of oxygen, and she is in a minimally conscious state, according to the neurologist who examined her during legal proceedings.

Abbie and Dan Dorn have since divorced. He has custody of the children and is raising them in the Los Angeles area. Dorn lives with her parents in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Her parents are also her conservators and sued Dan on her behalf, asking the court to order him to bring the children for regular visits.

Paul and Susan Cohen believe that their daughter desperately wants to see her children; Dan told Shaller during a hearing last week that he believes his ex-wife is in a “vegetative” state, that the children will get no benefit from seeing her.
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Dan Dorn... What a jerk

46 comments:

  1. Nasty piece of work, and his kids would grow up to hate him and abandon him one day and will go for their mother.

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  2. Melisssa, FloridaMarch 25, 2011 at 6:37 AM

    What ever happened to the 'in sickness and in health ' part ? I'm just shaking my head at this loser really. Abbie deserves to see her children , they are HER children too !! I hope some sensible judge will rule in her favor at least , because this is just outrageous!

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  3. What a thoroughly despicable man, it would serve him right if the judge orders him to hand the children over to the grandparents to be raised. He does not deserve to be raising them he clearly has no compassion. To deny them their mother is heartless, but to not even mention her to them for four years is horrible. To not tell them of her condition prior to seeing her stinks. Poor children, they deserve much better than this excuse of man who kicks his wife when she, personally, cannot fight back.

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  4. The children should be allowed the chance to get to know their own mother, no matter her condition. She is clearly harmless and at at most would only ever love them. The father is the one who wants to deny her existence and completely forget she was once a dear part of his life. She paid the ultimate sacrifice to provide him with his three adorable children. One day they will be grown and they will ask him why? Why did he deny them the opportunity to love the woman who lost her own life to give them theirs? He has a right to move on with his romantic life - but she is and will always be their mother.

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  5. I certainly hope I never marry a man like Mr Dorn! That poor woman, because of malpractice she is left paralyzed, is left by her husband (what a horrible man!) who won't even let her see the children she risked her life to have...so sad

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  6. What a cowardly man

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  7. I first read about this a few years ago when the story was first circulating. I'm as appalled now as I was then. What a horrible, terrible man

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  8. I can kind of understand the father's point of view, however he should not be keeping the children from his mother and grandparents. I feel so, so sorry for this mother. Think of the father as well...what is his future? Maybe he wants to have a normal life? What kind of marriage can you have with someone that's suffered an anoxic brain injury? It may seem harsh to divorce someone, but I get it. But think of the psychological trauma done to these children. Not speaking of their mother until they were four, and then BAM! Let's meet your mother! By the way, she's practically brain dead and can't speak. Lovely. If I were Abbie Dorn I would not want to "live" on like this. Why was she kept alive? More selfishness from the husband, or is because of her parents? He was more than likely her medical power of attorney, why keep her alive with feeding tubes and all that nonsense?

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  9. What an awful, awful man...first he abandons the woman he supposedly loves when she needs him most then keeps her children from her. She did nothing to deserve any of this, poor woman. What goes around comes around...

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  10. What a horrible husband! You marry someone for better or worse. I bet if the roles were reversed, Abbey would be taking care of him. How dare he stop these kids from seeing this woman who went brain damaged because she was having his babies. Karma! Who knows if spending time with these children may heal her in some ways. Horrible man!

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  11. This guy is a horrible person

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  12. I hope and pray for justice for Mrs.Susan and Mr Paul Cohen and their dear daughter Abbie they are wonderful people and only deserve the best. They should only have nachas from their daughter and grandchildren! May hashem make a miracle and Abbie should have a full recovery

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  13. As a wife of an anoxic husband I sympathize for Abbie and her parents. Through what I have gone thru family helped my husband to comeback to an area where he is communicating with us, goes to therapy and is slowly improving to show the world and doctors that the brain can slowly improve but never 100%. Let Abbie see her children regularly. They will help her to heal. Our prayers go out to the family and may her exhusband learn to know to be civil and help her heal with the children.

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  14. i hope you know mr dorn that your runing your chilrens lifes by not letting them see their mom

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  15. mr dorn is a HARIBLE man

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  16. how come the chabad shul lets him daven in their shul?

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  17. Dan Dorn is also seeking child support from Abbie. What a piece of scum

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  18. im calling to every jewish women and girl around the world please do not go out with this guy he is an animal even though his parents have money you are going to get zip so beware dont marry him!!!!

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  19. and by the way he is a drug user

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  20. its interesting to know what your doing mrs. vicky green by dans bed

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  21. dan will hopfully burn in hell

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  22. dan is such a jerk

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  23. Good! Im so glad she will see her kids. It was cruel to keep them from her!!!!!

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  24. After going through major treatment to become pregnant, and all along she was so positive how good it will be! Her husband is cruel, although she is brain damaged nebech she still has feelings! Let the kids know who bought em down to this world! There is nothing behind the story except a selfish man. This story hurts

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  25. I don't understand how a father could do this ?? to his kids and ex wife who gave him this triplets children, y shouldn't she have the right too see the naches that made her sick, Y shouldn't the kids know there mother, a mother always a mother, unless there is something that I don't know,

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  26. Kol hakavod to this Judge!! A person with a heart and common sense!! After everything she has gone through maybe now she can also shep some nachas from the beautiful children she gave birth to!! No thanks to this heartless, cruel ex-husband!!

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  27. Children are resilient! they'll always remember that this is their mother even though she can't take care of them...I'm sure they feel her love!

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  28. Baruch Hashem! It will be good if this temporary arrangement will become a permanent visitation arrangement, and the children will know their mother's love, as well as their grandmother's. Children are very resiliant, and they may resent their father later on if he denies them access to their mom.

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  29. The father is in a horrible predicament indeed but he is not thinking right. He needs guidance and counseling. I doubt any rov in his right mind would tell him his actions are correct. The children have every right to see their mother no matter what condition she is in. Furthermore because the father is making bad decisions he is making a hugh chillul Hashem. I am offended that he wears a kippa in the media coverage

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  30. Mrs Vicki Green How can you make a statement if you got over married in your fifty's and you never had a children. You have never felt the pain of a mother so rethink before you say something.

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  31. Vicki how can you call yourself orthodox if you aren't wearing a wig??

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  32. What a schmuck this ex husband is!

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  33. Five days a YEAR????? Seems a bit chintzy. However, it IS better than nothing. It's a shame her husband is such a jerk. Not allowing the children to see their mother, regardless of the state of her health, is cruel.

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  34. Her husband is an evil monster! He should be shunned by decent society.

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  35. This man is horrible. I can't believe he would try to stop his own children from seeing thier mother. She gave her life to bring those babies into the world; no one should take them away from her.

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  36. So happy for her and her family and the children. What kind of message is the father sending to these children. Your mother is disabled now so she's not worth having a relationship with. What is wrong with this guy? How pathetic that he would do this. The visits will not harm the children. This is their mother. This is their mother no matter what. She is disabled now, not a criminal or dangerous. The grandparents should also have the children in their lives. How sad that there are people like this man in the world.

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  37. Congrats Abby - those are your children, and you have every right to be in their lives. This is a blessing in disguise for the father - because those children would eventually resent him for keeping them from their mother - disabled or not.

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  38. Support abbie!!!! yassssssssss

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  39. This whole case is a total disgrace. This man is practicing religious Jewish (as I am) and needs to go back and read the Ten Commandments, The Torah and Talmud. All state that we must honor, respect and cherish our parents. Well he is a parent and should know better. Jewish folks and all other religions value and hold life near and dear.

    Mr. Dorn is a disgrace to the Jewish community and man kind. I wish the Jewish temple and the Hassaic sect would throw him to the wolves.

    Mr. Dorn you are a disgrace to the human race. I will never consider you a fellow Jew let alone a fellow human being!!!!! May you rot in hell for what you did!

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  40. I think representing Dan was a mistake on Vicky Greene's part. First of all, it's a conflict of interest. She is an adoptive mother of two boys whose journey to adopt was made bitter by the biological parents' parents claiming custody right after birth and it left her psychologocally scarred. So obviously, she already has a bias towards the mother-child biological bond. Secondly, this is a family that lives in the same community. What a lovely girl Abbie was. It's hard to believe that fighting for Dan violates some serious Torah principles.
    However, that aside, and regardless of the fact that I am leaning on the side of Abbie's parents, why hasn't anyone addressed why her parents can't relocate to Los Angeles in the interest of the grandchildren and perhaps Abbie too. I mean, they won 8 mil. $33,000 to keep her alive per month...maybe they could do without the violin player and accupuncture treatments for Abbie if it means that the kids won't have to travel across the country to spend time with her. I don't know, but her parents look well-off. I think they could swing it. Anyone know why?

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  41. I can't imagine these children not growing to resent their father for not fighting for them to spend as much time as possible with their mother. I also had the same question as Kiki. Why don't the grandparents relocate? Wouldn't that be a no-brainer?

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  42. Dan Dorn's Rabbi is Eyal Rav-Noy of Chabad I believe. Nice guy that does a lot of good, but from my knowledge, he welcomes his home and congregation to a lot of scum (creeps, possible pedophiles, etc.). I'd like to think it's naivete, but I've known some people who have been hurt by their "welcome all" attitude.

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  43. friend of the familyMarch 27, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    firstly they never received 8 million Dan got half of it for himself. And her entire home was made into a handicap house for her and I don't believe in her medical condition its an easy decision to move to california.

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  44. @ friend of the family:

    Thanks for the clarification. Astounding that the 8 million split is spun in the media as "the 8 million her parents won on her behalf."
    What a pig to take half for himself. He should have put it towards his wife's or ex-wife's (does it matter?) care. It costs $396,000 annually to keep her alive. The 4 million they got is barely enough to keep her alive for 10 years. I say barely because in these cases the lawyers often take a chunk of money.
    It's still murky to me about her location though. She gave birth in Los Angeles, she suffered brain damage in Los Angeles. Her medical condition was arguably worse at that time. Why did they choose to outfit her parent's home across the country for her care? Did Dan start distancing himself from her right after her accident?

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  45. Sorry, I didn't read clearly enough. It says he did visit for that year and then decided to divorce her which I guess puts the responsibility on her parents to care for her.
    My heart breaks. May God keep Abbie from feeling any pain, and may the joy of her children fill her heart with happiness. I also pray that the visits become longer. One week a year and a monthly Skype call is not enough. Her parents should be allowed normal one-one one time with their grandchildren as well. Why should they be punished further?

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  46. If the situation was reversed and Dorn suffered a horrific mistake during surgery- Abbey would still be with him taking care of him till death do us part. If I was Dorn's mother, I would be giving my loser son some good advice to show some compassion and respect to her grandchildren's mother. He is not worthy of setting foot in any Jewish or any other home of GOD. God bless Abbie, her children and her parents and I pray for a miracle from God that she gets better.

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