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Family Holds Hospital Responsible for Wrongful Birth


Can you sue a hospital or lab for giving you the wrong lab results or failing to provide you with testing you need? In many cases, you can, especially if those results were vital to decision making. You and your attorney would need to prove that the medical team was negligent in some way before filing a suit, like one couple had to do.

The couple had asked a hospital for testing to prove that the fetus the woman was carrying was healthy. On one side of the family, there was a severe genetic impairment that could negatively impact the child's life from the start. Therefore, both parents had agreed they wouldn't want to have the child go through that kind of life.

A technician helped with the paperwork, putting together a request for testing. After sending away the laboratory request form without a supplemental document explaining the risk of genetic issues, the doctor receiving the information failed to order a test that could detect the genetic impairment. The doctor claimed that he didn't ask for more testing because he thought that the lab was going to follow up when the supplemental paperwork came through.

At the end of the testing, the family was told that the baby was healthy and free of the genetic impairment. However, this wasn't the case at all. Six months later, the child was born with the same chromosomal translocation that the couple had been concerned about. After suing for medical malpractice, the child was awarded $25 million and the family received an additional $25 million.

Source: Genetic Literacy Project, "Wrongful birth: Court upholds parental rights when hospital and lab screw up genetic testing," Meredith Knight, Sep. 10, 2015