Ask any expecting mother in Ohio whether they want a boy or a girl baby, and most will probably say they just want a healthy baby. Most expecting mothers go through a lot of effort to make sure that the chances are as good as possible for that to happen. Doctors also play an important role during a pregnancy, as expecting mothers rely on them to provide appropriate health care and give them sound advice about how to best care for their babies both before and after they are born.
So can a mother sue a doctor who mistakenly tells her that her child is developing normally, only for her to discover at birth that the newborn has a number of deformities? This was the question recently answered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in what could prove to be a landmark case.
In that case, the doctor performed a pelvic ultrasound exam on the expecting mother, informing her that the baby appeared to be developing normally and healthy. At birth, however, the mother discovered the devastating truth — her baby had a number of severe abnormalities, including an accessory tongue, umbilical hernia, ventral curvature of the penis, and a lack of arms and legs below the major joints. The mother suffered extreme emotional distress from this shock and later sued the doctor for causing her emotional distress.
The next post will continue to discuss this story.
Source: Medical Daily, “Doctors Can Be Sued for Emotional Distress Even Without Physical Negligence,” Christine Hsu, Jan. 31, 2012