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New York couple files lawsuit after doctor failed to test for genetic condition

May 15, 2012 | Doctor Errors

Watching a child suffer is likely one of the hardest things for a parent to endure. A couple from New York can attest to that. Their son was born with a genetic disorder called Tay-Sachs. He began having seizures and lost control of his muscles. He died when he was just 2-years-old.

The family says their doctor never tested for the disease, and had they known about their son’s condition, the mother says she would have terminated the pregnancy. They filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician and were awarded an undisclosed amount.

Many states around the country allow parents to sue doctors if they do not provide the family with information about the unborn child’s condition. However, some states prohibit wrongful birth lawsuits, and other states are now considering whether to adopt similar laws. In fact, lawmakers in Kansas and nearby New Jersey are considering whether to ban these types of lawsuits.

Abortion rights activists are in favor of a ban because it allows doctors to withhold information to prevent women from terminating their pregnancies. However, those opposed to the law say parents have the right to know the condition of their unborn child to prepare for their child’s future or to plan for an abortion.

This past year, a couple from Florida was awarded $4.5 million after their son was born with only one limb. In addition, an Oregon couple was awarded about $3 million after their child was born with Down syndrome despite the fact that a prenatal test for the disease came back negative.

Wrongful birth cases can be highly complex. It is for that reason why it is often wise to rely on an attorney’s expertise when determining whether to move forward with a lawsuit.

Source: New York Now, "Should Parents Be Able To Sue For ‘Wrongful Birth’?" Kathy Lohr, May 15, 2012