Tags: abortion | testing | amniocentesis | mistake | late-term

Couple Lose Court Case in Abortion Based on Lab Error

By    |   Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 10:49 AM

A New England couple who aborted a four-month-old fetus in 2009 after early genetic tests suggested disorders in the fetus — and later proved to be wrong— have lost their lawsuit against doctors, a counselor and clinic, The Daily Beast reports.

The mother, who was 37 at the time and had experienced miscarriages and difficulty conceiving, sought genetic counseling after a sonogram revealed possible abnormalities in the fetus' brain, the Beast reports.

Doctors then collected a bit of amniotic fluid, and did a follow-up ultrasound, which  showed malformed genitalia that suggested other disorders and possible organ dysfunction. After meeting with the counselor, she aborted the fetus based on the ultrasound and initial results from the amniotic fluid test, only to learn the amniocentesis results had been wrongly transcribed and her baby was likely fine, the Beast reports.

The couple claimed the genetic counselor encouraged the termination, a suggestion the counselor denied, testifying that the mother's decision was already made by the time she showed up for her session.

“They gave her a choice: Abort the baby or take the chance of having a monster,” the  family's lawyer David Johns, said in an interview with the Beast.

In a heartbreaking twist, said the Beast, "a secretary had mistakenly typed “XY” instead of “XX” in the gender field, an error that Colleen’s lawyer said "was the first step in the long slide downward.'"

He added: “We are pushing people down a path of far too much information that leads to all sorts of dilemmas and confusion.”

In November 2009, doctors stopped the fetus' heart, and two days later, the mother gave birth to a dead baby. The family had an autopsy performed on the fetus, which found none of the abnormalities suggested by the ultrasound, the Beast said.

A jury found the lab and its director were negligent in the case but did not prescribe fault. The couple were denied damages for physical and emotional suffering.

An appeals court upheld the lower court's decision, the Beast said, noting the warning of such a case to parents who make deep decisions based on such testing, often without enough information.

The couple's story comes as Congress begins debate on a bill that would ban abortions at 20 weeks, Roll Call reported, noting statistics that show about 18,000 late-term abortions are done annually in the U.S.

An investigation by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting found that significant problems in prenatal testing, noting that "companies are overselling the accuracy of their tests and doing little to educate expecting parents or their doctors about the significant risks of false alarms."

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A New England couple who aborted a four-month-old fetus in 2009 after early genetic tests suggested disorders in the fetus - and later proved to be wrong - have lost their lawsuit against doctors, a counselor and clinic, The Daily Beast reports.
abortion, testing, amniocentesis, mistake, late-term
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2015-49-29
Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 10:49 AM
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