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Hospital ordered to pay $50 million after taking away woman’s choice to abort her baby

By Mason White 2:25 PM December 19, 2013
Rhea Wuth with son Oliver 

By: Debbi Gross
A couple won a lawsuit, and were awarded money so that they can care for their son for the rest of his life.

While it’s not uncommon for hospitals and doctors to be found legally liable for “wrongful death,” this time a hospital was ordered to pay for a “wrongful birth.”

Brock and Rhea Wuth of Washington, discovered their family was a carrier of a rare genetic disease that could be passed on to their children.

Therefore, when his wife Rhea became pregnant, the couple went for testing to see if their unborn baby carried the gene.

The couple went to the Valley Medical Center’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine Clinic, to get the genetic test done. The hospital subcontracted the test to Dynacare Laboratories, a subsidiary of LabCorps.

The test came back and showed that the child did not carry the rare disease and that he will be a healthy child.

However, that was not the case, the baby was born with “unbalanced chromosomal translocation,” a profound mental and physical disability.

The problem was that to successfully screen for chromosomal abnormality, the lab needed more specific information from the hospital, but the hospital failed to provide it.

However, nobody at the lab informed the family that the specific information was missing, before giving them the results.

Rhea and Brock Wuth sued the hospital and LabCorp. A jury awarded them $50 million for the “wrongful birth.”

Had the couple known of the genetic defect, they would have ended the pregnancy, according to court records.

The award will go to the parents so that they can care for their disabled son Oliver, who will require care for the rest of his life.

The money is to be paid equally by Valley Medical Center in Renton, Washington, and Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp), which is based in North Carolina.