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Was your child's birth injury caused by nature or medical malpractice? We can investigate.

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Firing stirs debate on disability rights
Veterans health system terminates social worker with cerebral palsy

By: Julie Patel

"When people review Cheryl Hewitt's résumé, they see an award-winning social worker with 18 years of experience who is also a grass-roots organizer in the campaign for disability rights. When they meet the woman behind the résumé, they see a cerebral palsy victim in a wheelchair, her arms having spasms sporadically and her head sometimes tilted to one side.

But last week, Hewitt drew notice as a worker who had just been fired, in an incident that had made her a cause celebre in the disability rights community.

``You see before you a woman with a broken body but not a broken mind,'' Bill Luttrell told an audience of 35 people gathered to support Hewitt's discrimination complaint against her employer, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.

Hewitt's official last day is Friday. She says hospital managers told her that she violated patient confidentiality when she allowed her cousin to write down personal information -- last names and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers -- after he watched her struggle to make them legible with her shaky handwriting."

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