Woman brings lawsuit for failing to detect carrier status
Published on: 23/02/2016

A woman is suing healthcare professionals in the USA for failing to detect that she was a carrier of cystic fibrosis (CF).

Kerrie Evans's daughter, now six years old, was born with a severe form of CF requiring medical treatment costing around $300,000 a year. Evans is claiming over $14 million in damages from the Park Clinic in Livingston and the Bozeman Ob Gyn clinic in Billings, Montana.

Evans maintains that doctors should have performed a blood test for the genetic condition after she and her husband had expressed a concern about it. She says that she told doctors that she would consider aborting the fetus if a serious abnormality was found.

Her lawyer has claimed that Evans was not asked if she had received genetic counselling and that she encountered difficulties accessing advice.

However the defendants dispute this version of events, saying that the couple only raised concerns about Down's syndrome. Representing one of the doctor's involved, Lisa Speare said that cystic fibrosis and other conditions were only discussed because Evans had not undergone genetic counselling, rather than at the specific request of the couple.

A jury in Montana is currently hearing arguments on the case and will be required to determine what was discussed.

The Great Falls Tribune says other US states have heard similar lawsuits recently, with an appeals court in Washington state upholding a compensation award to parents of a child born with a genetic condition for which screening was specifically asked.

In Oregon, the parents of a child born with muscular dystrophy who claim that they would not have conceived had their eldest been diagnosed with the condition earlier, have been allowed to proceed with their case.

Meanwhile, an interim payment has been made in an Australian case involving a failure to detect Fragile X syndrome. A hearing for further directions has been set for later this month.

Leighee Eastbury is suing Genea Genetics, formerly Sydney IVF, for failing to detect that she was a carrier of the genetic mutation during pre-pregnancy testing, after her sons were born with the inherited condition (see BioNews 830).

In 2009, a Scottish woman sued Lothian Health Board after a test for CF produced a false negative result that she claimed should have been identified (see BioNews 515).

Source: Bionews 838 Antony Blackburn-Starza
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