Wrongful Birth Lawsuit Result of Health-Care Worker Misreading of Test ResultsThe Parents of Baby Ellie Made A Painful Decision To File A Wrongful Birth lawsuit after test results concerning their unborn child were mis-read
The parents of baby Ellie have recently filed a wrongful birth lawsuit after the hospital misread test results on their daughter’s sonogram, missing the fact that their daughter had a rare genetic disorder shared by the baby’s aunt. The genetic defect in which the father’s sister and now baby Ellie suffer from involves a reduced mental age. Baby Ellie’s aunt is 40, but has the maturity level of a 14 year-old with intense mood swings.
No one wants to have to make decisions like this, but as a carrier of the genetic disorder, the father wanted the baby tested. Baby Ellie had the chance of getting the disorder or being symptom free like her father. The parents were told by the hospital that their baby was symptom free. However, when baby Ellie was 6 months old, she started to show signs of slowing development. Doctors ran tests, but did not do any additional genetics testing based on the initial report given to the parents that Ellie was defect-free. However, when she was 18 months old, her pediatrician suggested baby Ellie get additional genetic testing. Then, it was found that Ellie suffered from the most severe form of her genetic disorder. The lawsuit was brought about after it was determined that the original testing office misread the results of baby Ellie’s test. The facility involved and the parents of baby Ellie are currently in negotiations to settle this wrongful birth lawsuit. [http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/17/parents-sue-for-wrongful-birth.html, August, 2014]
Like this and other negligence lawsuits, medical malpractice lawsuits must show that the medical provider caused harm. In the case of fetal genetic testing, the only way to sue the medical provider for malpractice is by proving that the couple would have performed an abortion if they had received the correct diagnosis. An attorney familiar with this case states that, “the plaintiffs have to prove the causation aspect.” Parents can choose between “wrongful birth,” indicating that the child’s existence has caused them harm; or “wrongful life,” which says the child was harmed through her own birth or life.
Parents who choose to file wrongful birth cases are vilified, which is why the parents of baby Ellie chose to keep their name anonymous. These children will most likely need special care for their entire life and parents want them to get the best and most effect treatments they can, but that takes money. What the parents are looking for is the greater amount of compensation that only a wrongful birth or life suit can bring. Parents cannot sue for emotional distress outside of a wrongful life or birth suit, according to The Daily Beast. Parents involved in wrongful birth cases are mainly just trying to make hospitals responsible for their mistakes in whatever way possible.
In Ohio, parents must file a wrongful birth suit in cases like this one. According to a 2006 Ohio Supreme Court ruling, parents cannot receive compensation for the cost of raising the child, only for expenses gathered during the pregnancy and birth. According to American Medical News, this means that in Ohio, most parents have “no justifiable cause” for bringing a wrongful birth lawsuit since the costs of litigation would outweigh any payments received. [http://www.amednews.com/article/20060410/profession/304109957/6/, April, 2006]