A now 50-year-old Michigan woman has filed a Michigan medical malpractice lawsuit for wrongful conception, alleging that the voluntary sterilization procedure performed on her was negligently performed and as a result, she became pregnant. The woman subsequently gave birth to a child suffering from Down syndrome.
Wrongful Conception vs. Wrongful Birth vs. Wrongful Life Claim
What’s The Difference Between A Wrongful Birth Claim And A Wrongful Life Claim?
The difference between a wrongful birth claim and a wrongful life claim is that a wrongful birth claim seeks damages for the parents’ costs of raising a child born with deformities or severe medical conditions whereas in a wrongful life claim, the child seeks damages for being born with deformities or severe medical conditions rather than not being born.
The Michigan woman’s wrongful conception medical malpractice lawsuit differs from a medical malpractice claim alleging wrongful birth. In a wrongful conception lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks compensation for the emotional injury suffered when a sterilization procedure was negligently performed and resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. In a wrongful birth lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that medical negligence that occurred after conception has resulted in the birth of a baby with congenital abnormalities or other significant disabilities, and that the pregnant woman would have chosen to abort the fetus had she been timely and appropriately advised regarding the condition of her fetus. In a wrongful birth case, the plaintiff typically seeks compensation for the extraordinary expenses involved in caring for a child with special needs.
Not all U.S. states recognize a cause of action for wrongful birth. For example, in Maryland, it was not until 1993 that Maryland first recognized a cause of action for wrongful birth, when the Court of Appeals of Maryland answered in the affirmative the following certified question: “Whether the State of Maryland recognizes a tort cause of action for wrongful birth when the doctor does not inform the patient about an available diagnostic test which might reveal the possibility of neural tube defects of the fetus, when these defects are genetically caused, when further diagnostic testing would be required to determine the nature and extent of any fetal defects, and when the plaintiff asserts she would have aborted the child had she been made aware of the fetus’s deformities.” Reed v. Campagnolo, 332 Md. 226, 630 A.2d 1145 (1993).
In the Michigan wrongful conception medical malpractice case, the plaintiff alleges that she underwent a tubal ligation in 2008 and was assured by her physician that her Fallopian tubes were blocked as a result of the sterilization procedure. The plaintiff alleges that she was advised that there was no chance of her becoming pregnant after the sterilization procedure. Nonetheless, she gave birth to her child three years later (the Michigan woman is not seeking compensation for the extra expenses of raising a child born with Down syndrome).
If you became pregnant after a sterilization procedure in Michigan or elsewhere in the United States, you may have the right to file a wrongful conception claim if the failed sterilization procedure was due to medical negligence. Obtaining the prompt advice from a local medical malpractice attorney may help you decide if you should proceed with a medical malpractice case.
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