Assessment of damages for wrongful birth and consolidation in advance care directives

Madden, Bill, Cockburn, Tina, & Murray, Jean E. (2013) Assessment of damages for wrongful birth and consolidation in advance care directives. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 10(3), pp. 287-291.

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The recent decision of Waller v James involved a claim by the plaintiff parents for damages for wrongful birth against the defendant doctor, Dr James, a gynaecologist with a practice in infertility and IVF procedures, who had been consulted by the plaintiffs. The second plaintiff, Mr Waller suffered an inherited anti-thrombin deficiency (ATD), a condition which results in a propensity for the blood to clot, at least in adults. Dr James subsequently recommended IVF treatment. The first plaintiff, Mrs Waller became pregnant after the first cycle of IVF treatment. Her son Keeden was born on 10 August 2000 with a genetic anti-thrombin deficiency. Keeden was released from hospital on 14 August 2000. However, he was brought back to the hospital the next day with cerebral thrombosis (CSVT). As a result of the thrombosis, he suffered permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy and related disabilities. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant was in breach of contract and his common law duty of care to the plaintiffs in failing to inform them, or cause them to be informed, of the hereditary aspects of ATD. They further alleged that, had they been properly informed, they would not have proceeded to conceive a child using the male plaintiff’s sperm and therefore avoided the harm that had befallen them. The plaintiffs claimed damages to compensate them for their losses, including psychiatric and physical injuries and the costs of having, raising and caring for Keeden. The defendant was held to be not liable in negligence by Justice Hislop of the Supreme Court of New South Wales because a finding was made on medical causation which was adverse to the plaintiffs claim.

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ID Code: 63776
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: wrongful birth, damages, genetic testing, causation , medical negligence, obstretric malpractice
DOI: 10.1007/s11673-013-9467-2
ISSN: 1872-4353
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Tort Law (180126)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Current > Schools > School of Law
Deposited On: 29 Oct 2013 03:57
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2013 00:12

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