Most parents in Maryland and across the United States want their children to have the best chance at living a healthy life. With genetic testing becoming more and more commonplace, obstetricians routinely offer genetic testing so that parents have all the information ahead of time about whether or not their child has a certain genetic condition. In some cases, genetic testing is not offered when it should have been – depriving parents of the right to be informed. In other cases, a health care provider incorrectly interprets the results of genetic testing.
With proper medical care, many birth defects can be prevented. Doctors have an obligation to consult with patients regarding any family history of genetic defects. Genetic testing is typically done if one or both parents have a hereditary medical problem or have other children with a genetic defect. In these cases, genetic testing is a way to help families make informed decisions and avoid potentially life-threatening health problems.
When a doctor fails to identify a genetic abnormality, a child may be born with a serious genetic condition, such as sickle cell disease, Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, or other conditions.
If your OBGYN failed to conduct genetic testing in a case in which he or she should have, and your child was born with a genetic defect that testing would have identified, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor. Medical malpractice takes place when a medical professional deviates from the standard of care that another medical professional in the same specialty would have used in the same or similar circumstances, causing an injury to the patient.
Since genetic testing is not always necessary, these claims can be difficult to establish. The determination of whether or not a doctor was negligent will depend on whether or not a reasonable health care provider would have made the same mistake. Essentially, the plaintiff must show that a prudent OBGYN would have conducted genetic testing in the same situation.
Lastly, the plaintiff must also show that the doctor’s deviation from the standard of care was the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm. Damages can be tough to quantify in these cases, since it is difficult to put a dollar amount on how much a parent deserves for the wrongful conception or birth of a child. Some obvious examples of damages, however, include lifelong medical expenses (including medication costs), pain and suffering, emotional distress, health care costs associated with therapy or medical equipment for the child, and lost wages for parents who must take care of the child full-time.
If you or someone close to you believes you may have a wrongful birth lawsuit, it is important to consult a Baltimore medical malpractice attorney who can explore the facts of your case. For years, we have been zealously advocating for Maryland clients, and we can do the same for you. We understand how complicated these types of cases can be, and you can trust that we will provide compassionate representation at every step of the way. To discuss your case in more detail, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.
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