Clinical Pathology Laboratories Should Be Aware of New Malpractice Risks from Genetic Testing

Some medical laboratories may be exposed to malpractice suits involving prenatal genetic testing associated with “wrongful birth” claims

Genetic testing is creating a new source of medical malpractice liability and early cases have generated substantial settlements for the plaintiffs. Any clinical laboratory organization or pathologist involved in genetic testing should pay serious attention to this emerging field of malpractice law.

In particular, the media is reporting on malpractice lawsuits that involve prenatal genetic testing that was performed on behalf of parents who were attempting to determine the possibility of serious inheritable diseases in their unborn children.

In these cases, parents of a child born with a debilitating—and frequently financially-devastating—disease that could have been detected by accurate genetic testing are suing their healthcare providers, including medical laboratories. These plaintiffs claim that, through inaccurate genetic testing or lack of available testing, they were denied the choice of terminating a pregnancy that tested positive for serious inherited disease. (more…)