An Oregon couple has won a $3 million settlement from a Portland hospital they sued after doctors missed diagnosing their daughter’s Down’s syndrome before she was born, thereby depriving them of the opportunity to abort her. As reported by the Oregonian newspaper, Ariel and Deborah Levy insisted that they would have aborted daughter Kalanit, who is now four years old, had Portland’s Legacy Health hospital informed them of her disability.
While the Levys insist that they love their daughter, their attorneys argued that the hospital should pay for the extra care Kalanit will require over her lifetime because its staff failed to diagnose the chromosomal condition that causes Down’s syndrome. The 12 jurors in the case unanimously agreed, reported the Oregonian, finding “Legacy Health negligent on five fronts, including that the doctor who performed the prenatal test took too small of a sample from Levy’s womb to be useful. They concluded that employees — including the doctor who took the sample and lab workers who analyzed it — failed to communicate, leading to the erroneous result.”
In November 2006 the Levys, who were already the parents of two boys, “were surprised to learn Deborah Levy was pregnant again,” recalled the Oregonian. “Because she was 34, she and her husband were concerned about the possibility of genetic disorders. Experts testified that about 1 in 250 women that age give birth to a baby with Down syndrome. A first-trimester screening estimated Deborah Levy’s chances were even higher: 1 in 130.”
When Mrs. Levy went for an exam 13 weeks into her pregnancy, her doctor performed a prenatal test called chorionic villus sampling (CVS). “A Legacy lab tested a small amount of tissue that the doctor had removed from Levy’s womb,” the paper reported. “The results showed the Levy’s daughter had a normal chromosomal profile.” While follow-up ultrasounds appeared to show a likelihood that the child would be born with Down’s syndrome, the Levys said doctors assured them that their daughter would be normal. Additionally, the Levys attorneys said, medical staff failed to do a follow-up amniocentesis, another prenatal test for Down’s syndrome.
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