Couple Wins $50M in Biggest “Wrongful Birth” Suit, Would Have Aborted Disabled Baby

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 13, 2013   |   6:12PM   |   Washington, DC

A couple in Washington state have won what is being called the biggest so-called “wrongful birth” lawsuit ever, when they claim they were denied information that could have led them to abort their disabled baby.

A jury in Washington state awarded a couple $50 million after genetic tests didn’t give the couple the information they wanted to know about whether their baby had a rare genetic disorder. Had the baby had the disorder, the couple planned to take his or her life in an abortion.

“Brock and Rhea Wuth of Burien, Wash., sued Valley Medical Center and the North Carolina company LabCorp after a genetic test meant to determine whether a child Wuth was carrying had a rare genetic disorder failed to do so,” UPI reports. “The Seattle Times said the couple knew based on their family medical history they were at a 50-50 chance of having children suffering from a rare but debilitating genetic disorder called “unbalanced chromosome translocation.”

This case comes on the heels of one from New Zealand, where a couple won their case at a federal appeals court because they would have aborted their little girl had they known she had spina bifida. The parents of a child with the condition could win a monetary settlement following the ruling saying they were “denied” a chance to abort their daughter.

During ultrasounds scans as the pregnancy progressed, doctors missed signs of the birth “defect” and the couple said that, had the spina bifida been detected, they would have killed their daughter in an abortion. Instead, the little girl was born in 2007 and the couple has been in court even since.
The Court of Appeal ruling claims the couple “suffered a personal injury because of the misdiagnosis” and the case now returns to a district court.

More on this new case out of Washington state:

Knowing they were at risk, Rhea Wuth went to Valley to have her fetus tested. The hospital then sent the blood sample to LabCorp. The problem happened when the hospital failed to include crucial data about where the lab was supposed to look for a chromosomal defect — essentially a genetic roadmap for where the defect would occur if at all.

Lab employees never followed up to ask for the crucial information, missed the translocation and came back with a negative result for the disorder.



When the couple’s child was born July 12, 2008, he was found to suffer from the disorder. The child, Oliver, now requires around-the-clock care. He has an IQ of between 50 and 70, cannot run or walk up stairs and can’t speak beyond two dozen or so words his parents can understand.

The Wuths’ lawyer, Todd Gardner, said the couple was “incredibly responsible” in seeking out the testing and had they been given the proper test results they would have terminated the pregnancy.