Wrongful Birth Case Filed By Sacramento Family Raises Complex Ethical Issues, Part 6 of 8

The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this birth injury case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice case and its proceedings.)


With respect to damages, general damages for pain and suffering are not allowed in a wrongful life case. Turpin v. Sortini 31 Cal.3d 220 (1982); see also Gami v. Mullikin Medical Center, 18 Cal.App4th 870 (1993). In addition, damages for loss of earning capacity are not permitted in such an action for wrongful life and wrongful birth. In Andalon v. Superior Court 162 Cal.App3d 208 (1984); See also Simmons v. West Covina Medical Clinic, 212, Cal.App3d 696. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

In Turpin v. Sortini, 31 Cal.3d, plaintiffs, a minor child and her parents, brought a wrongful life action against the doctors, hospital and others who participated in the misdiagnosis of the hereditary defect in the child’s sister, thereby depriving allegedly the parents a choice of whether or not they should conceive the plaintiff minor child. There, the California Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs were limited to recovery of the child’s extraordinary medical expenses that were proximately caused by the defendants’ negligence.

The court also held that plaintiffs could not recover general damages because it was impossible to determine whether the child suffered an injury in being born versus not being born. Moreover, the court held both the parent and child could not recover the same extraordinary medical expenses. Turpin Id. 31 Cal.3d at 328.

Additionally, the parents of Nicholas Smith cannot recover for any damages associated with a loss of filial consortium. (See Part 7 of 8.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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