Some people are unable to conceive a child naturally and rely on assisted reproductive technology (ART) to grow their families. In many instances, ART involves relatively new medical practices and procedures, the risks of which are unknown. Thus, a patient that suffers damage due to an undisclosed risk of an ART procedure may face some hurdles in the pursuit of damages. Recently, however, a Maryland court ruled that a plaintiff could pursue a failure to obtain an informed consent claim against an ART facility after a couple’s child was born with significant birth defects that they were not advised could occur due to the procedure. If you suffered harm due to a healthcare provider’s failure to fully advise you of the risks of a procedure, you should speak to an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney regarding your possible claims.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiff and his wife suffered from infertility. They turned to the defendant embryology practice for assistance conceiving and chose to pursue in vitro fertilization (IVF) with ICSI, a procedure in which an egg is injected with a single sperm to form an embryo. They met with the defendant’s staff and received and signed consent forms that stated, in part, that while children born from IVF with ICSI did not seem to have an overall higher rate of congenital birth defects, the risk could not be precluded.
Allegedly, the plaintiff and his wife underwent the procedure, after which the wife became pregnant. Tragically, their unborn child was diagnosed with a disorder known as pentalogy of Cantrell, which causes severe heart issues, when the wife was six months pregnant. The plaintiff’s child was born and died a few months later, after undergoing numerous procedures. The plaintiff sued the defendant, alleging failure to obtain informed consent and other claims. The defendant moved for summary judgment.
Failure to Obtain Informed Consent Claims in Maryland
Under Maryland law, the gist of an informed consent claim is a medical provider’s duty to provide a patient with the information necessary to make an informed and intelligent decision. In other words, the patient must be advised of the material risks and benefits of the proposed treatment, as well as alternative options.
A risk will be deemed material if it is one that a doctor knows or should know would be significant to a reasonable person in the patient’s position when faced with the decision of whether or not to proceed with a suggested procedure. A physician need not disclose all of the risks, though, just the ones that are material.
In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff set forth evidence of the defendant’s failure to obtain his informed consent to proceed to trial. Specifically, the court noted that despite ample knowledge of the increased risks of negative outcomes and birth defects associated with IVF with ICSI, the defendant did not provide the plaintiff with such information. Thus, the court denied the defendant’s motion.
Meet with a Trusted Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you were not fully advised of the risks of your treatment and subsequently suffered harm as a result you may be owed damages and should speak to an attorney. The trusted Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can inform you of your potential claims and help you to pursue the full amount of damages recoverable for your providers’ failure to obtain your informed consent. You can contact us via our form online or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a conference.