medical malpractice case settled for 7 million

Medical malpractice cases commonly arise from health care providers taking actions that they never should have taken, and then the actions turn out to be terribly harmful. The other side of common medical malpractice cases is the failure to act when action was called for. Examples include a failure to diagnose disease, a failure to properly treat a condition, or a failure to inform a patient of the risks of a procedure.

Recently, a medical malpractice case was settled for seven million dollars that hinged on the alleged failure of doctors, nurses, and a genetic counselor to inform a couple that their unborn child would be born with severe disabilities.

The baby in question was born in 2007. The girl’s parents claimed in a lawsuit that they were not informed that their child would be born with a rare genetic disorder known as cri-du-chat, or cat cry syndrome. Children born with this chromosome depletion have a cry that sounds like a meowing kitten because of problems with the larynx. They typically lose this cry by age two.

Children with cri-du-chat typically have severe cognitive, speech, and motor delays, as well as behavioral problems such as hyperactivity, aggression, tantrums, and repetitive movements.

The girl’s parents sued two doctors, a nurse practitioner and a genetic counselor, on the grounds that they, the parents, were not provided proper prenatal genetic counseling.

Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys note that a diagnostic procedure known as an amniocentesis would have indicated that the child would be born with cri-du-chat. The defendants claimed that the mother was offered an amniocentesis, but that she declined. The plaintiffs claimed that they were never offered, nor informed of the availability of, this diagnostic procedure.

A judge recently approved a seven million dollar settlement of the lawsuit, which included four million dollars that will fund a trust to pay for the girl’s future medical expenses.

Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette “Judge OKs $7M payout to Shrewsbury family” 5/6/2011

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