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Lab Error Leads to Wrongful Birth Lawsuit: Part 1

Sometimes a failure to diagnose a devastating illness can result in what is known as a wrongful birth. A married couple is embarking on a difficult and heart-wrenching wrongful birth claim against a genetic-testing company who told them their unborn child was not afflicted with the disease known as Cooley's anemia.

Both parents are carriers of the thalessemia beta trait, which is a condition of the blood. The condition can cause minor to very serious anemia, and the most severe form of the trait is a condition called Cooley's anemia, which requires those afflicted with it to have regular blood transfusions. The blood transfusions cause "excruciating pain," according to the complaint, and a person with the disease usually has a shortened expected lifespan.

When the couple found out they were pregnant, they decided to undergo prenatal genetic testing to determine whether the fetus carried the genes that can cause the devastating illness. After careful thought, prayer and religious counsel, the couple decided that if they found out their fetus would be born with the disease, they would terminate the pregnancy.

They were told after two rounds of testing by a genetics laboratory that their baby would not have the dreadful disease, but the genetics laboratory was wrong. It wasn't until after the baby was born that the parents learned she would suffer from Cooley's anemia.

The next post will further discuss this case.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "LabCorp Still on the Hook for Wrongful Birth Claim," Rose Bouboushian, Nov. 18, 2011

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