A ruling was made after publication of “Keene v. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc.: On the Value of a Life With Mental Retardation,” by Stanley J. Vitello, in the October 2003 issue of Mental Retardation.
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in its April 22, 2003, opinion found it unnecessary to address the plaintiff's claim that he was entitled to compensation for the loss of enjoyment of life claim. In a turn of events, the Supreme Judicial Court reversed the lower court ruling stating that Brigham and Women's Hospital, under state law, was a charitable institution and in carrying out its charitable purposes was immune from malpractice liability greater than $20,000. Judge Greany acknowledged that upholding the defendant's charitable institution defense “unquestionably causes an unusually harsh result for the plaintiff and his family” (Keene vs. Brigham and Women's Hospital. Inc., 439 Mass. 223 (2003).