The New York Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, ruled in favor of two sets of parents who were pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors that performed their in-vitro fertilization treatment. The issue before the Court of Appeals involved whether the statute of limitations for the medical malpractice began when the doctor committed the malpractice or when the child was born.
A “statute of limitations” is a legal term for the time period in which a person can file a lawsuit after they have been wronged, if the Court of Appeals had decided that the clock started running at the time of the medical malpractice then the parents would have been effectively barred from pursuing a lawsuit against their doctors.
A parent typically files a “wrongful birth” lawsuit after a doctor negligently, or recklessly, fails to diagnose a serious birth defect and thereby deprives the parents of the opportunity to terminate the pregnancy. Because of advances in reproductive health and genetic testing, doctors and hospitals now have the ability to diagnose some serious genetic and birth defects during the early stages of a pregnancy. Continue reading