On December 3, 2015, a husband and wife filed a wrongful life lawsuit on their own behalf and on behalf of their disabled child in the Los Angeles Superior Court regarding their son, Justin James Sanchez, who was born on September 6, 2014 and later tested positive for cystic fibrosis.
The plaintiffs allege in their wrongful life lawsuit that the woman had specifically requested that her OB/GYN perform a blood test during her pregnancy to test for genetic disorders because the couple could not afford the costs associated with a baby born with congenital conditions. Furthermore, the plaintiffs allege in their California medical malpractice lawsuit that the woman had specifically requested, in writing, that the genetic testing include testing for cystic fibrosis.
The plaintiffs name as medical malpractice defendants the hospital, the OB/GYN, and Quest Diagnostics Clinical Laboratories, alleging that the defendant OB/GYN had drawn a blood sample from the woman but either failed to obtain the test results from the defendant lab or failed to advise the plaintiffs regarding the results of the tests. The plaintiffs allege that the defendant lab either failed to test the blood specimen obtained from the woman and/or failed to provide the results of the testing to the defendant OB/GYN. They further allege that the results of the screening would have shown that the woman carried the cystic fibrosis gene mutation, which would have resulted in the fetus being tested to determine if it was genetically predisposed to developing cystic fibrosis.
The plaintiffs allege that had the proper genetic testing been done, and the results of the testing been timely reported to them, the plaintiffs would then have decided to not have the child.
California Wrongful Life Claims
California first recognized a cause of action for wrongful life in a case decided by the Supreme Court of California (the “Court”) in 1982 (Turpin v. Sortini, 31 Cal.3rd 220, 643 P.2d 954). The Court stated that the issue it had to decide was whether a child born with a hereditary affliction may maintain a tort action against a medical care provider who — before the child’s conception — negligently failed to advise the child’s parents of the possibility of the hereditary condition, depriving them of the opportunity to choose not to conceive the child (a “wrongful life” action generally refers to an action brought on behalf of a child and “wrongful birth” to an action brought by parents).
The Court held that while a plaintiff-child in a wrongful life action may not recover general damages for being born impaired as opposed to not being born at all, the child — like his or her parents — may recover special damages for the extraordinary expenses necessary to treat the hereditary ailment.
If you or someone you care about may have the basis for bringing a wrongful life claim in California or in another U.S. state that allows wrongful life claims, you should promptly find a wrongful life lawyer in your state who may investigate your wrongful life claim for you and represent you in a wrongful life case, if appropriate.
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