Prenatal testing facility failed to properly perform genetic testing in this wrongful birth suit, with catastrophic consequences.
A prenatal testing facility failed to properly perform genetic testing in a case that settled while the jury was still deliberating. A couple who was looking forward to starting a family were each a carrier of an inherited blood disorder, Beta Thalassemia, which they wanted to make sure wasn’t present in their unborn child. With both parents being carriers, they knew how important it was to rule out the far more serious Beta Thalassemia Major. As advised, they submitted a sample of placental tissue to determine whether the baby was going to be impacted by the disease, which would determine how they would proceed. However, the defendants failed to properly perform the essential genetic testing that would have indicated the presence of the catastrophic Thalassemia Major disease, which in fact manifested in the baby. Instead, they had incorrectly told the family the baby would only be a carrier; the parents continued with the pregnancy only to learn too late that the infant girl had the more serious disease, which caused a failure to thrive.
It was determined that the prenatal testing lab failed to follow their own protocol when doing the initial testing. Key information was provided by a board certified doctor in molecular genetics who concurred that had the lab followed their own rules and standard operating procedures, it would have revealed their mistake. The venue for the case was Alabama. After a two week trial, and while the jury was deliberating, the case settled for $8 million. (Attorney Paul O’Connor handled the case.)