Tom Clarkson is a student at the University of Georgia School of Law.
The “Wrongful Birth” debate is in the news yet again. In a pair of previous posts (here and here) the Genomics Law Report highlighted several issues relevant to the debate over what happens when states recognize a cause of action for wrongful birth, wrongful life or wrongful conception. A recent example from Florida illustrates that the debate continues.
Aiden, Caleb and Smith-Lemli-Opitz. In 2002 Aiden Estrada was born with a number of severe birth defects. Despite multiple examinations, Dr. Boris Kousseff, Director of Medical Genetics of the University of South Florida College of Medicine, failed to diagnose the symptoms as Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome and informed Aiden’s parents that they could expect a “normal” pregnancy if they conceived again. Relying on these representations, Amara and Daniel Estrada conceived a second child in 2004. This second child, Caleb, was born with symptoms nearly identical to those of his brother Aiden. Within one hour of Caleb’s birth, a geneticist at the University of Florida diagnosed him with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome. The Estradas sued, and a Florida jury awarded them more than $20 million dollars in their wrongful birth suit in July 2007.
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