Illinois courts have long recognized wrongful birth lawsuits. These cases arise when a doctor fails to warn expectant parents about fetal problems. Now, however, medicine has advanced to provide the opportunity for genetic testing prior to conception. Unfortunately, botched genetic tests can lead to the same types of harm suffered in wrongful birth cases.
Genetic testing malpractice is a very serious type of medical failure because of the consequences. Parents often suffer great financial and emotional harm due to the care of a disabled child. Genetic malpractice cases, however, are also very complex cases to bring against a doctor or care provider. These cases are often highly technical, and the law is still evolving in this area. However, at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we have the experience you need to represent you in these challenging types of claims.
Parents typically undergo genetic testing if there is reason to believe that their child could be born with a serious health problem that is hereditary. If one or both parents has a hereditary medical problem or have other children with a genetic defect, this can prompt the parents to undergo a pre-conception genetic test.
Genetic testing may involve testing a parent to see if he or she is a carrier of any hereditary diseases. It can also involve testing a disabled child to determine if his condition is hereditary or is the result of a mutation. Pre-implantation genetic testing is possible. This is the testing of embryos before implanting to make sure they have no genetic defects. Prenatal diagnostic genetic testing is done when a mother is pregnant.
When perspective parents request genetic testing prior to or during conception, the testing is typically done to avoid having a child who has a health problem due to a genetic defect.
When a doctor fails to identify a genetic abnormality, therefore, this can result in the parents’ conceiving a child they otherwise would not have conceived. Genetic testing malpractice cases are similar to wrongful birth cases.
While not every jurisdiction allows wrongful birth or wrongful conception cases, Illinois does allow parents to take legal action if their healthcare provider’s negligence resulted in the parents’ having a child they otherwise wouldn’t have given birth to.
In order to prevail in a genetic malpractice claim, parents will need to show that the healthcare provider was negligent in failing to adequately perform the genetic testing. This assessment is made by considering whether or not a reasonable healthcare provider would have made the same mistake. Parents will then need to show that they acted on the basis of the care provider’s negligence, resulting in their having a child they otherwise would not have given birth to. Finally, parents must prove that they suffered damage as a result of the birth that should not have occurred.
The issue of damages in genetic testing malpractice cases is one of the most complex issues. It is hard to put a price on exactly how much compensation a parent deserves as a result of the wrongful conception or birth of a child.
One obvious type of damage is the actual cost of caring for a disabled child or child with a genetic health problem. The costs of this type of care can be astronomical, sometimes totaling in the millions of dollars. In one recent case, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the parents were entitled to damages for the cost of caring for a child up to age 18. (In Illinois, once a child turns age 18, parents are not obligated to support the child even if he or she is disabled.) Because distress is a natural consequence of the damage parents suffer due to genetic testing malpractice, they may be able to recover compensation for emotional damages as well.
Genetic testing malpractice claims can be very challenging. It can be difficult to show that the healthcare provider was negligent and to prove the full extent of resulting damages from the birth. But at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we have the legal knowledge and experience to help you make a solid malpractice case. We are well-informed about the emerging laws regarding genetic testing malpractice, and we can put our legal skills to work to help you to build the strongest possible case.
If a doctor or care provider you trust fails you in genetic testing, the care provider needs to be held accountable. The provider needs to pay not just for the harm done to the parents’ financial and emotional stability but also for the irreparable harm done to the child and family. Perhaps most importantly, through a genetic testing malpractice claim parents can secure money for the care they need for their children.
To learn how our Chicago genetic testing malpractice lawyers can help you, give us a call today at our toll-free number or use our online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You will not pay for our legal services unless we obtain compensation for you and your family.