Wrongful birth claim: Child has a chromosomal disorder
A WOMAN’S HUSBAND AND AN INTERPRETER came to her first prenatal appointment at 10 weeks’ gestation, as she spoke only Mandarin and the father’s English was limited. The ObGyn offered maternal serum sequential screening. At subsequent visits, with the husband and interpreter present, the mother saw a geneticist, genetic counselor, and nurse practitioner. At no time was additional genetic testing offered. At the 23-week visit, the husband was present, but the interpreter had not yet arrived; the ObGyn attempted to communicate through the husband.
The baby was born at term with cri-du-chat syndrome. The child is severely physically and mentally handicapped, and will require constant medical and attendant care for life.
PATIENT’S CLAIM The ObGyn did not offer amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), and failed to inform the parents that the chance of a 37-year-old woman having a child with a chromosomal aberration was 1.5%. The ObGyn did not obtain the woman’s signature waiving the presence of an interpreter at the 23-week visit. If the physician offered amniocentesis then, the parents did not understand. She would have terminated the pregnancy if she had been told the fetus had a severe chromosomal defect.
PHYSICIAN’S DEFENSE The ObGyn claimed to have offered amniocentesis at the 23-week visit, but it was declined. Proper care and treatment was provided.
VERDICT A $7 million Massachusetts settlement was reached.