John Stocks, J.D., Esquire, Lawyer, Attorney View Entire Blog

Wrongful Death at Birth or Wrongful Birth? Can you sue?

Is it okay to sue the doctors? Is it legal to sue the health care industry for many of the wrongful births?

Birth Day: Child is born with birth defect.

9+ months prior to Birth Day: Here is a young couple in agreement to raise a big family. Just picture the young couple who find out that wife is pregnant. Of course, the next 9 months will entail them facing the stress and anxiety of pregnancy (but also the joy of) the birth of their new baby.

6 months prior to Birth Day: All prenatal testing, interpreted by doctors, shows no signs of any problems.

Back to Birth Day: All the excitement comes to dark gloom when the young couple finds that they lost her at delivery or their daughter was born with Down's.

A recent jury awarded almost $3 million to a couple who sued for the “wrongful birth” of their daughter. The legal claim is medical malpractice, where parents of a tragic birth scenario (child dies or child is born with a birth defect) decide to sue the physician or provider for the pain and damages.

It becomes more controversial when the allegation is that negligence occurred during diagnosis, which some argue deprives parents from making a decision about whether to terminate the pregnancy or not.

If not for the pain and suffering, what suing for the extra medical costs associated with raising a child with a serious birth defect?

Is it fair for parents in such situations to say on the one hand that they are so blessed with their child (as most do regardless), but state on the other had that had they known their child would have Down Syndrome, they would have aborted?

I don't know. Does election of a President, who appoints the next member(s) of the Supreme Court affect this? Should it?