Inaccurate genetic testing or screening can have serious consequences, both financially and emotionally. It can result in miscarriages, late term abortions, future infertility, physical injuries to the mother, wrongful death, and children born with genetic defects that require a lifetime of future care. If you have been a victim of inaccurate test results, it is important to understand the types of damages that may be available to you.
In general, damages fall into two categories: (1) economic damages (e.g., past and future medical bills, home care bills, lost wages); and (2) non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish). Under certain circumstances, when the fertility clinic’s conduct is particularly egregious, victims may also be able to recover punitive damages.
Economic Damages For Faulty Genetic Testing.
Economic damages for botched testing typically include the cost of the testing and subsequent medical procedures performed on the mother, as well as any future care the mother may require as a result of any injuries suffered. Economic damages become particularly significant in cases where botched genetic testing results in a child that is born with permanent impairments and special needs. In such cases, parents may be able to claim the cost of caring for a child with such birth defects over their entire expected lifetime. These costs can be several million dollars, and include things like:
- Medical expenses: This can include the cost of diagnostic tests, surgeries, medication, and ongoing care and treatments. Some birth defects may require multiple surgeries, ongoing physical therapy, or lifelong medication.
- Special education and therapy: Children with certain birth defects may require special education services or therapy to help them reach their full potential.
- Assistive technology and equipment: Children with certain birth defects may require assistive technology and equipment, such as wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, and other devices to help them with mobility and other activities of daily living.
- Home modifications: Some children with birth defects may require home modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, to help them move around their home more easily.
- Lost wages: Some parents may need to take time off work to care for their child or to attend medical appointments, which can result in lost wages.
- Travel and lodging: Some children with birth defects may require specialized care that is not available in their local area, which can result in additional costs for travel and lodging.
The expenses outlined above are typically outlined in a detailed document called a lifecare plan. Lifecare plans are put together by healthcare and medical billing experts. Our team of fertility lawyers work with the foremost lifecare planners in the country. These lifecare plans are used in settlement negotiations and – if needed – in court to present to a jury.
Non-Economic Damages For Botched Genetic Testing or Screening.
Botched genetic testing can be devastating to families. If parents or children suffer physical injuries as a result, they may be entitled to “pain and suffering.” There is no set standard for calculating such damages. Depending on the circumstances of the case, however, pain and suffering damages can be the most significant damages in a case. Another component of non-economic damages is “emotional distress” or “mental anguish.” These damages relate to the incredible emotional toll wrought on families for things like a miscarriage, a lost baby, a wrongful death, or a child born with severe birth defects or impairments. Again, there is no set formula for calculating these types of damages, but in certain cases they can be worth many millions of dollars.
Your Doctor’s Obligations
Doctors have several important obligations when it comes to genetic testing and their patients. First, it is their responsibility to order appropriate genetic tests based on the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and familial risk factors. This is particularly important with fertility doctors, as parents should be screened to understand any potential risks of genetic defects in their children. After conception, it’s important to conduct genetic tests on embryos so that parents can make informed decisions on whether to proceed.
Once the results are available, the doctor must thoroughly analyze and interpret them, considering the patient’s unique circumstances. They should explain the test results to the patient in a clear and understandable manner, providing all relevant information about the implications and potential risks associated with the findings. Additionally, the doctor must accurately document the genetic test results in the patient’s medical record for future reference and continuity of care. Inaccurate genetic test results can have significant consequences, leading to unnecessary medical interventions, unnecessary anxiety or distress, or missed opportunities for preventive measures or appropriate treatments. Therefore, doctors must prioritize accuracy and ensure that they are using validated and reliable testing methods to provide the best possible care for their patients.
What Can Our Genetic Testing Malpractice Lawyers Do For You?
Our team of fertility lawyers have decades of experience handling malpractice and misconduct cases. The first step is having a free, initial consultation where you can explain what happened and we can help you understand your options. If we agree to work together, the next steps are generally as follows:
- Investigating the case: Our team will investigate the case and gather evidence, such as medical records and expert witness testimony, to support the claim.
- Negotiating a settlement: We will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the responsible party to reach a mutually agreeable resolution without going to trial. Through our decades of experience, we know many of the insurance companies who insure fertility clinics, and they know us and our willingness to go to trial. This often helps yield a positive settlement.
- Filing a lawsuit: If the case fails to settle, the next step would be to file a lawsuit against the laboratory or healthcare provider responsible for the genetic testing error. This type of lawsuit aims to hold the responsible party accountable for any harm caused by the mistake.
- Representing the client in court: If the case goes all the way to trial, we will represent the family or individual and present the evidence to a jury or judge to seek a favorable outcome. Our track record in trials is unmatched in this industry.
If you believe that you have been the victim of fertility misconduct and have questions about your rights, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation. We understand how devastating these cases can be and strive to be a resource for victims and their families.