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Misread Genetic Testing

Syracuse Lawyers Helping Families with Birth Injury Claims

Genetic testing during pregnancy is commonplace. Many expectant mothers undergo chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis, as well as genetic counseling. However, healthcare professionals sometimes misinterpret or inaccurately communicate genetic testing results. If your baby was born with a genetic condition because the doctor misread the genetic testing or you terminated a pregnancy because the physician mistakenly reported a genetic disorder, you should consult the Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco and Falgiatano. We are experienced trial lawyers who may be able to help you.

Misread Genetic Testing

As a pregnant woman, you likely underwent prenatal genetic screening to evaluate whether your fetus has an increased risk of suffering from a genetic disorder. If a heightened risk exists, you may have been presented with the option of undergoing prenatal genetic diagnostic testing to determine whether the fetus has a genetic disorder. During the test, the fetal chromosomes will be analyzed for any abnormalities. Each test offers different degrees of accuracy and information. Often this results in the need for complex counseling so that a parent or parents can make informed decisions about whether or not to continue the pregnancy.

Genetic testing can be invasive or noninvasive. Two common tests that many women with high-risk pregnancies undergo to screen for chromosomal abnormalities are chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis. Chorionic villus sampling, which can identify certain inherited disorders and chromosomal abnormalities, requires the healthcare provider to remove certain placental cells attached to the uterine wall between 11-13 weeks of fetal development. Healthcare providers also often recommend amniocentesis, a diagnostic test performed between 14-20 weeks to detect neural tube defects, cystic fibrosis, Trisomy 21, or Down Syndrome.

Negligence in Genetic Testing

Sometimes misread genetic testing constitutes medical malpractice. Generally, you cannot recover for genetic birth defects that would have occurred regardless of a doctor’s actions or omissions. However, it is possible to assert claims for misread genetic testing where the misreading causes birth injuries.

To establish medical malpractice, you would need to show: (1) the defendant owed a professional duty of care to read the genetic testing correctly and present the results accurately, (2) the defendant’s deviation from the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages.

Cases that claim malpractice in providing prenatal genetic testing come up in many contexts. For example, this type of case may arise if a doctor failed to provide accurate information about the risks of genetic disorders to a pregnant woman based on age or refused requests to perform invasive procedures to test for genetic defects. Other cases may involve allegations that a healthcare provider or laboratory negligently misinterpreted the test results and the misread genetic testing resulted in a baby suffering birth injuries.

In still other cases, known as wrongful birth cases, plaintiffs allege they would not have carried a baby to term if the doctors had accurately interpreted genetic testing for them.

Generally, the professional duty of care is established through expert testimony. The duty is determined according to how reasonably competent healthcare providers would have acted under the same circumstances in the same geographic location and while practicing in the same specialty as the defendant.

Wrongful Birth Lawsuits

Families may file wrongful birth lawsuits when their doctor negligently misreads the genetic testing and therefore fails to diagnose and inform the parents about a significant birth defect. When the physician fails to present accurate results to the parents, they may lose the opportunity to terminate the pregnancy. If a physician could have caught any genetic defects early in the pregnancy by competently reading the genetic testing, it may be possible to sue for wrongful birth due to the misread results.

Retain an Experienced Trial Lawyer In Syracuse

If your baby sustained harm due to misread genetic testing, you should discuss your situation with a seasoned birth injury attorney. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our trial lawyers represent children, along with their families, in Syracuse, Rochester, and many other places in Upstate New York, including in Auburn, Canandaigua, Lyons, Oswego, Watertown, Elmira, Herkimer, Ithaca, Lowville, Utica, Wampsville, Binghamton, Oneida, and Cooperstown. Please contact our firm at 315-479-9000 or via our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I cannot express in words what an awesome job Charlie Falgiatano and Jean Marie Westlake did in representing my family in my mother's case at trial. There can never be enough thank-yous." D.L., Cortland, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY