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Making a case for wrongful birth

Many residents of Rhode Island know about wrongful death cases, but they might not have heard of wrongful birth. According to CBS News, some may file a claim for wrongful birth if a doctor error resulted in the birth of a child that the parents were unprepared to handle, either emotionally or financially.

There have been countless wrongful birth cases filed in numerous states since the 1970s. Down Syndrome and spina bifida are two of the most common conditions cited. What are some of the other situations that might lead to a wrongful birth claim? Most of the time, the parents did not know of a birth defect the child had before being born – either because the condition was not detected during prenatal testing or the parents were not made aware of certain screenings for specific conditions. A failed vasectomy or tubal ligation might also lead to a wrongful birth claim.

These claims do not mean that the parents don’t love their children or don’t want to care for them. Caring for a child with birth defects is often far costlier than caring for a physically healthy child. Parents may seek compensation for medical treatments, therapy, special education and emotional pain and suffering.

In one recent case, a Montana woman is suing her doctors and health care facility, claiming she was not informed of a blood test that might have revealed her to be a carrier for cystic fibrosis, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Although genetic testing during her pregnancy came back normal, her daughter was born with the life-threatening illness. In addition to financial compensation, she is seeking a change in pregnancy procedures so other parents can be informed of all of their testing options.

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