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FL Wrongful Birth Lawsuit: $4.5M Jury Award

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on September 19, 2011 6:49 AM

Faced with pictures of 3-year-old Bryan, a little boy who was born without arms and only one leg, a jury in a wrongful birth lawsuit awarded parents Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana $4.5 million last week.

The West Palm Beach couple asserted that OB/GYN Dr. Marie Morel and her ultrasound technician were negligent in detecting Bryan's missing limbs. The couple argued that had they known about his disabilities, they would have saved him "a life of physical and psychological pain" and terminated the pregnancy.

At least 25 states statutorily allow wrongful birth lawsuits, which are premised on the idea that, absent a health provider's negligence in diagnosing or disclosing a fetus' potential or actual disability, the child in question would never have been born.

Most parents who file such suits are seeking ways to provide for the continued health and support of their disabled child.

These are generally the only available damages.

In this particular lawsuit, Mejia and Santana allege that, despite having a number of ultrasounds, the technician never properly accounted for or noticed Bryan's missing limbs, notes the the Palm Beach Post.

The jury found that national standards, which require technicians to indentify each limb, were not followed. Medical records stated that the fetus had both arms and legs.

The couple now needs to provide psychological care, as well as prosthetics and physical therapy, for the rest of Bryan's life. Thus, they chose to pursue this oversight and file a wrongful birth lawsuit.

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