Wrongful Birth Malpractice Lawsuit Results in $4.5M Award

A Florida jury has awarded $4.5 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed by the parents of a boy born with no arms and only one leg, who alleged that medical negligence prevented them from learning about the missing limbs early enough to terminate the pregnancy. 

The wrongful birth lawsuit was brought by Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana against Dr. Marie Morel, OB/GYN Specialists of the Palm Beaches and Perinatal Specialists of the Palm Beaches for allegedly failing to diagnose that their son, Bryan Santana, had major malformations and defects.

According to allegations raised in the complaint, Morel and an ultrasound technician failed to properly examine Mejia during the pregnancy or they would have detected the missing limbs. The doctor and technician signed off on an examination report that they had seen all four limbs during the ultrasound.

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The family says the boy will need prosthetics, a wheel chair and extensive medical care throughout his life to cope with the birth defects. They accused the defendants of negligence, indicating that if they had been properly informed about the child’s problems they would have terminated the pregnancy.

The jury awarded $4.5 million in damages to compensate Mejia and Santana for the cost of caring for the child, indicating to local media after the decision that it was clear that the failure to give a proper diagnosis failed to meet the acceptable standard of medical care.

According to a report by the Orlando Sentinal, attorneys for the defendants say they disagree with the verdict and intend to file an appeal.

Florida is one of just 25 states who have provisions allowing wrongful birth malpractice lawsuits. While rare, such cases allow parents to pursue compensation against medical providers for failing to warn about the risk of conceiving or giving birth to a child with serious genetic or congenital abnormalities. Such medical negligence prevents parents from making a truly informed decision about whether or not to have the child.


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