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Wrongful birth suit results in $2.9 million award

It would be a mistake to think that the only birth issues for which seeking compensation through the court system might be reasonable are the result of mistakes made during delivery. Maryland-based attorneys with experience in this area of law know that the process of having a baby doesn't fall into just the narrow window of the delivery. It involves the entire 9-month pregnancy.

As health professionals and the government regularly remind us, proper medical care throughout the full pregnancy is important. Care providers have a lot of opportunities and tools to discover possible problems and alert the parents to issues if they are present. If they fail to do so, questions of medical malpractice arise and deserve to be explored.

Highlighting the issue is a wrongful birth case out of Oregon. A jury in that state recently awarded a Portland-area couple nearly $3 million because their daughter was born with Down syndrome. At issue was the fact that the parents had had prenatal tests to determine if their child had any genetic issues. Doctors informed them none were found. The child is now four years old.

During a 10-day trial, the parents laid out their claim that the tests had been botched and that if they had had the benefit of proper results, they would have terminated the pregnancy. The jury took less than six hours to find for the parents. They found that the doctor didn't take a large enough tissue sample for the test. They also concluded that everyone from the doctor to lab analysts failed to properly communicate throughout the pregnancy when other evidence of Down syndrome was apparent.

As is often the case with these types of suits, emotions ran high and debate raged. The attorney for the parents said they received death threats. The couple acknowledges that, like others in their situation, they were hesitant to sue for fear of being labeled heartless. But their attorney said his clients love their daughter deeply and decided to press the matter to make sure she would be provided for throughout her whole life.

The parents say the money will be used to cover her anticipated lifetime costs which are expected to include ongoing therapies, health issues that are normally associated with Down syndrome individuals and living costs. Experts testified that the girl is unlikely to ever live independently or earn a living.

Source: The Oregonian, "Jury awards nearly $3 million to Portland-area couple in 'wrongful birth' lawsuit against Legacy Health," Aimee Green, March 9, 2012

2 Comments

Wrongful death usually means that a complaint where the unlawful conduct by a person or an organization led to the death of another person. The law of wrongful death for the surviving spouse, parents and children to sue for the wrongful death lawyer of their own injuries suffered following the death of the deceased. These injuries are: financial loss, mental illness, loss of companionship and society, etc. In addition, units of damages available when death is caused by an intentional act or omission or gross negligence.

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