$50M awarded over birth defect after test said baby would be OK
KING COUNTY, Wash. — A Washington state jury has awarded a couple $50 million for a wrongful birth case that involves Burlington-based LabCorp, according to the Seattle Times.
A King County jury awarded Brock and Rhea Wuth of Burien, Wash. with the state’s largest ever individual award.
The couple’s son was born with profound mental and physical disabilities after concluding that Valley Medical Center and LabCorp mishandled a genetic test.
The couple reportedly knew from their family medical history they were at a 50-50 chance of having children suffering from a rare but debilitating genetic disorder called “unbalanced chromosome translocation.”
Rhea Wuth went to Valley to have her fetus tested and the hospital sent the blood sample to LabCorp. But the hospital failed to include crucial data about where the lab was supposed to look for a chromosomal defect.
Valley failed to send the information to the lab, and never told Rhea Wuth that without the additional directions, the test might not answer the question.
The family’s lawyer said the lab’s own procedures said it should follow up with a call when such information is missing, but the call was never made.
Court filings said the lab missed the translocation and if the couple knew about the genetic defect, they would have ended the pregnancy.
The couple’s son, Oliver, is now five years old and will reportedly need constant care for the rest of his life.
The child has a 50-70 IQ, cannot run or walk up stairs and can only say a few dozen understandable words, the couple’s attorney said.
LabCorp said in a statement: “We believe the facts and the law do not support the verdict. LabCorp acted properly and diligently in performing the test that was ordered by the physician. We will consider all available options, including post-trial motions and appeal, if necessary.”
Read more: The Seattle Times