Malpractice By Sacramento Physician Leads To Wrongful Birth Lawsuit, Part 3 of 5

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

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


California recognizes a parent’s cause of action for the wrongful birth of a genetically deformed child where the physician negligently failed to inform the parent of the risk of bearing such a child. (Turpin v. Sortini (1982) 31 Cal.3d 220, 225, 182 Cal.Rptr. 337, 643 P.2d 954) In a successful wrongful birth and wrongful life action, the parents may recover for medical and extraordinary teaching and training expenses incurred during the child’s minority, but the child may not also recover for those same expenses. (Turpin v. Sortini, supra, 31 Cal.3d at p. 236.) The child may only recover medical expenses and special damages where the parents are unavailable to sue or where the expenses are incurred beyond the time of the parents’ legal responsibility for such care. (Ibid.) In addition, the child may not recover for pain and suffering and other general damages (id. at pp. 238-239), or for a loss of earning capacity (Andalon v. Superior Court (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 600, 614, 208 Cal.Rptr. 899).

As in ordinary medical malpractice cases, the plaintiffs in a wrongful life and wrongful birth case must establish the following basic elements: (1) the duty of the professional to use such skill, prudence, and diligence as other members of his profession commonly possess and exercise; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) a proximate causal connection between the negligent conduct and the resulting injury; and (4) actual loss or damage resulting from the professional’s negligence. (Budd v. Nixen (1971) 6 Cal.3d 195, 200, 98 Cal.Rptr. 849, 491 P.2d 433; Turoin v. Sortini, supra, 31 Cal.3d at pp. 229-230.)

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

Under the above described principles in California, plaintiff cannot recover where there is only a mere possibility the defendant’s negligence caused the wrong. (Jones v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp. (1985) 1S3 Cal.App.3d 396, 402-403, 209 Cal.Rptr. 456; Morgenroth v. Pacific Medical Center, Inc. (1976) 54 Cal.App.3d 521, 533, 126 Cal.Rptr. 691). As stated in Jones v. Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp., supra, 163 Cal.App.3d 396, there exists an obvious distinction between a reasonable medical probability and a medical possibility. (Id. at p. 403.) There can be many, even an infinite number of, possible circumstances which can produce an injury. But a possible cause only becomes probable when, in the absence of other reasonable causal explanations, it becomes more likely than not that the injury was a result of its action. This is the outer limit of inference upon which an issue may be submitted to the jury. (Ibid.) (See Part 4 of 5.)

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

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