Child has congenital disorder after negative prenatal testing
WHEN A POSSIBLE FETAL ABNORMALITY WAS SEEN on ultrasonography, the ObGyn suggested both parents have DNA testing for a hormonal disorder. Blood samples were taken in the hospital laboratory and sent to an outside lab. The parents were told that the results were negative.
The child was born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, causing hormonal imbalance and development of ambiguous genitalia. She underwent genital reconstruction surgery at 4 months, and is expected to require additional surgery and lifelong hormone replacement therapy and monitoring.
PATIENTS’ CLAIM The hospital lab technician ordered the wrong test. The ObGyn was at fault for not confirming the test’s name. The parents would have terminated the pregnancy if they had been correctly informed of the child’s condition.
DEFENDANTS’ DEFENSE The test requested by the lab technician was similar in name to that ordered by the ObGyn. The ObGyn denied negligence; she relied on the lab to order the test she requested. The hospital claimed the error had been the fault of other entities involved in the handling and testing of the blood samples.
VERDICT A New Jersey jury found the hospital 75% and the lab technician 25% liable. The $1 million verdict included $625,000 for the child and $375,000 for her parents. A defense verdict was returned for the ObGyn.