Maryland medical malpractice wrongful birth lawsuit

Donald Saiontz

By Donald Saiontz
Posted December 22, 2006


Earlier this month, the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld a couples right to pursue their medical malpractice lawsuit, even though test results were interpreted in North Carolina, where wrongful birth lawsuits are not recognized.

Maryland law recognizes wrongful birth lawsuits, permitting parents to recover damages for the negligent interpretation of prenatal genomic tests which result in the birth of a child with the genetic disease being tested for.  The recent Maryland Court of Appeals decision surrounded whether Maryland law or North Carolina law should be applied to this medical malpractice lawsuit.

>>READ THE DECISION: Laboratory Corp. of America v. Hood, filed Dec 1, 2006

In this case, a couple brought a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit after their child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.  Prior to the pregnancy, both parents were aware that they carried the recessive delta F508 mutation.  Because both parents were carriers, they knew that any pregnancy carried a one in four risk of giving birth to a child with cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis is a disease which always leads to premature death.  The devastating condition can cause lung diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, pancreatic diseases, heart diseases and diseases of various other organs.  Those diagnosed with the condition rarely live beyond their mid-30s.

The Maryland couple had decided that they would obtain genetic testing and that the pregnancy would be terminated if the fetus tested positive for cystic fibrosis.  After an amniocentisis, a laboratory in North Carolina examined the specimen and indicated that the fetus was not expected to be affected by cystic fibrosis.  When the child was born and diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, the laboratory issued a corrected report indicating that they had made a medical mistake interpreting the chromatography.

A Maryland wrongful birth lawsuit was filed to recover damages for the medical malpractice.  The laboratory attempted to have the case dismissed since North Carolina medical malpractice law does not recognize wrongful birth lawsuits.  After hearing arguments on the certified questions of law from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, the Court of Appeals found that denying the Maryland residents the right to bring a wrongful birth lawsuit by applying North Carolina law would violate the public policy of Maryland.


If you, a friend or family member believe you may have a wrongful birth lawsuit or other claim for a medical mistake, you can have your claim reviewed by experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyers.

Click here to request a free consultation.


1 Comment • Add Your Comments

  • lisa says:

    my 13 year old daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis 9-7-2010.
    we had an amnio proformed when I was pregnant the results were negative for cf. what can i do?

    Posted on October 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm

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