Woman Wants $14 Million in Wrongful Birth Lawsuit, She Didn’t Get to Abort Baby With Cystic Fibrosis

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 4, 2016   |   1:16PM   |   Bozeman, MT

Kerrie Evans (pictured above) readily admitted to a Montana judge Wednesday that she would have aborted her daughter if she had known that her baby had cystic fibrosis; but she didn’t find out until after her daughter was born.

Now, she is suing her doctor for allegedly failing to test her unborn daughter for the condition, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Named in the lawsuit are Bozeman OBGYN Dr. William Peters, nurse Peggy Scanson and Livingston HealthCare. Evans wants $14.5 million in damages for the cost of raising her daughter, medical expenses and emotional distress, according to the report.

The trial began Wednesday. Evans told the judge that she was excited when she found out that she was pregnant for the first time in 2009; but because she was in her late 30s, she and her husband, Joe, wanted to test their baby for any abnormalities, the report states.

She claimed that Peters and Scanson failed to give her the test that she requested. However, attorneys for the defendants said Evans did not read the information that her doctor provided and did not show interest in being tested for cystic fibrosis.

The report continues:

Evans, 44, took the stand Wednesday afternoon, telling jurors about her first meeting with nurse Scanson at Livingston HealthCare during her initial pre-natal appointment.

During that appointment, Evans said Scanson gave her a packet of information that included brochures on a variety of topics that included cystic fibrosis and genetic testing.

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When asked what kind of testing she wanted, Evans said she told Scanson she wanted to specifically test for Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis.

And when Scanson asked Evans if she would terminate her pregnancy if her fetus did have those conditions, “Yes, I was going to have an abortion,” Evans told jurors.

Evans was also advised of chorionic villus sampling (CVS), which is a type of test that can diagnose abnormalities such as cystic fibrosis. Evans was referred to Peters, who performed that type of test in Bozeman.

However, Evans was not given any information on cystic fibrosis carrier screening, a different test that would have shown that both she and her husband were carriers for the gene that caused the genetic disorder.

Evans’ CVS screening results showed that her daughter was healthy, Evans said, and she continued with a normal pregnancy.

When her daughter was born in May 2010, “it was absolutely one of the best days of my whole life,” Evans testified.

But Evans was devastated when she was later told her daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems.

Evans said at no time during her pregnancy was information on cystic fibrosis screening given to her.

However, Lisa Speare, the doctor’s attorney, said Evans did not show any concern about cystic fibrosis until after her daughter was born.

Evans’ daughter is now 5 years old. Her grandmother, Marie, told the court that she is “happy, busy and intelligent.” Marie Evans also defended her daughter-in-law.

“I could not have chosen a better mother for (the girl) than Kerrie if I would have hand picked her myself,” Marie said.

The trial is expected to continue through Feb. 19.

Though these lawsuits, often referred to as “wrongful birth” cases, seem like something out of a dystopian novel, they have become more common in the past few years.

In 2013, a Washington state couple won $50 million in a lawsuit where they claimed they were denied information that could have led them to abort their disabled baby, LifeNews reported. 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,” but a genetic test failed to detect the disorder in their unborn baby.

In 2014, an Illinois mother also sued her doctor, claiming that he botched her tubal ligation and it led to the birth of her daughter who has sickle cell disease.

Wrongful birth and wrongful life lawsuits are just plain wrong,” wrote LifeNews blogger Rebecca Taylor.

“The wrongful birth suit is brought by the parents of a sick or disabled child against a physician that, the parents say, was negligent. The wrongful birth lawsuit does not say that the doctor caused the disease or disability, which would be a valid reason to sue. Instead the wrongful birth lawsuit claims the that doctor failed to inform the parents of the illness or disability of the child and that had they known, they would have aborted their child. In other words, the parents are saying we wish our child was dead. Because he or she is not, the doctor has to pay.”

“The parents often use the excuse that they love their child; they are simply suing to acquire funds to care for their sick or disabled offspring. But to get those funds they have to insist that, had they known, they would have killed that very same child,” she continued.