A Tampa jury awarded a family $23.5 million dollars for the wrongful birth of their second child. The jury found a University of South Florida physician was negligent for giving the go ahead to the couple to have a second child even though the couple’s first child had severe disabling birth defects. Had the doctor properly diagnosed this genetic disorder (Smith-Lemil-Opitz syndrome) in the first child the family would have known there was 25% chance a second child would have the disorder and a test would have shown the second child had the disorder before he was born.
The USF physician had seen this genetic disorder at least 10 ten times and had written a paper about the disorder. The judge found there was enough evidence to prove the dcotor acted negligently and therefore the jury then decided the cost to care for the child over his lifetime along with fair compensation to the parents for pain and suffering. The award was for lifetime care of the second child as the first child and includes compensation for pain and suffering caused by the misdiagnosis. As a result of the genetic condition the child has a small head, webbed toes, undescended testicles and will never be able to communicate with their parents.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.