$3,000,000 Settlement for Wrongful Birth / Failure to Diagnose Prenatal Condition

  • Date: Spring 2013
  • FIRM
  • Settlement: $3,000,000
  • Practice Areas: Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Birth, Ultrasound, Failure to prenatally diagnose a cardiac defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Note: $3,000,000 divided between parents and child who both were represented by different counsel.

The firm was lead counsel in this wrongful birth failure in prenatal diagnosis claim against a radiologist, an ultrasound technician and their group.,The mother had routine prenatal ultrasound during this pregnancy in which the firm showed that the technical performance of the ultrasound by the technician fell below the standard of care.

Additionally, the radiologist had the ultimate responsibility to review the images he signed off on and yet failed to recognize the cardiac abnormality and/or recall the patient for re-scanning.

Moreover, if he had any doubts about his own expertise in cardiac defects, then the standard of care would have called for him to secure an immediate referral to a fetal echocardiography unit within a few days.,Due to the failures of both defendants, the plaintiffs did not receive a prenatal diagnosis and lost the option to terminate the pregnancy.

Less than one week after birth, the infant underwent complex cardiac surgery and within a year had the 2nd phase of that cardiac surgery. Additional medical complications included necrotizing enterocolitis, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with failure to thrive, G-tube placement and other severe medical complications requiring chronic medical follow-up for the rest of his life and the risk of developing multiple further complications associated with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

This case also involved a potential medical lien of millions of dollars due to the multiple cardiac surgeries the infant required. However, the employer of the child’s father agreed to waive the entire lien so that the child could instead use this settlement for lifetime future care.

Finally, the case was notable because it was referred to Blume Forte to act as counsel for the parents, while referring counsel also represented the child. This permits two counsel and equalizes jury challenges with the 2 defense attorneys. Finally, one of the reasons the case settled was that the firm was able to compel both the defendant radiologist and the defendant ultrasound technician to be deposed a second time and answer questions at deposition about what the images they had interpreted did or did not show. The settlement exhausted the policy limits of the radiologist and also included another 1 million dollars from the ultrasound tech’s coverage.