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Fifteen years ago I was selected for jury duty in Southern Oregon. The case was a medical malpractice suit. It was the hardest three weeks of my life. A young woman was misdiagnosed and ended up having inflammatory breast cancer. By the time her case got to us, she had only two years left to live. She ended up passing much sooner.

After unanimously deciding medical malpractice had been committed, we had to “award” her soon to be widow money.

Part of that process was estimating the number of years this young lady, age 32 at the time, would have lived…then putting together costs of her services to her marriage. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, child-rearing, and raising, just to name a few. I know it sounds impersonal and tactless, but that’s what we were instructed to do.

And it was awful. I hated every second of it.

All 12 of us sat there and wept. It was incredibly heart wrenching to look at the victim as an “invoice.”

This was NO easy task. How do you put a dollar amount on someone’s life? Who were we to decide her worth?

Here I am today, fifteen years later asking the same question: Who are we to determine anyone’s worth?

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