(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice/birth injury case and its proceedings.)
The Elements That Plaintiffs Must Prove To Establish A Prima Facie Case.
In CACI No. 513, the elements for proving a wrongful life claim are virtually identical to the elements required for proving a wrongful birth claim (CACI No. 512). The wrongful life elements are as follows:
[Plaintiff] claims that [defendant physician] was negligent because [he/she] failed to inform [p]laintiff]’s parents of the risk that [he/she] would be born [genetically impaired/disabled]. To establish this claim, [plaintiff] must prove all of the following:
1. That [defendant] negligently failed to diagnose and warn [plaintiff]’s parents that their child would probably be born with a [genetic impairment/disability];
2. That [plaintiff] was born with a [genetic impairment/disability];
3. That if [plaintiff]’s parents had known of the hereditary ailment or disability, [his/her] mother would not have conceived [him/her][or would not have carried the fetus to term]; and
4. That [plaintiff] will have to pay extraordinary medical or training expenses because of [his/her][genetic impairment/disability]. (CACI No. 513.)
In Barragan v. Lopez, supra, 156 Cal.App.4th at p. 1004, the Fourth District Court of Appeal analyzed a wrongful life claim in the context of a summary judgment motion. Mr. Friedman is readily familiar with the Barragan case as he was the losing plaintiff’s counsel.
In that case, the mother of twins first saw Dr. Lopez when she was about 11 weeks pregnant. The pregnancy was progressing normally and tests for tube defects were negative. (Id. at p. 999.) About two months later, the mother experienced a vaginal discharge with blood and went to the hospital. Dr. Lopez’s examination did not reveal any complications and the fetal heart rates were normal. (Id. at p. 999-1000.) After the twins gestational age was more than 24 weeks, an amniotic sac ruptured and the mother was admitted to the hospital where she remained for about four weeks. (Id. at p. 1000-1001.) She later gave premature birth to the twins, who were born with cerebral palsy. (Id. at p. 1001.) (See Part 6 of 10.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.