Preimplantation genetic diagnosis A systematic review of litigation in the face of new technology

Capsule:
The IVF facilities providing PGD services expose themselves to liability for misdiagnosis. Conducting the procedure in a competent manner and providing proper informed consent may deter litigation.

Authors:
Tochi Amagwula, B.S., Peter L. Chang, M.D., Amjad Hossain, Ph.D., Joey Tyner, M.D. Aimée L. Rivers, M.D., John Y. Phelps, M.D., J.D.

Volume 98, Issue 5, Pages 1277-1282, November 2012

Abstract:

Objective:
To study legal cases against IVF facilities pertaining to preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) misdiagnosis.

Design:
Systematic case law review.

Setting:
University medical center utilizing United States legal databases.

Patients:
IVF recipients utilizing PGD services.

Interventions:
Lawsuits pertaining to PGD against IVF facilities.

Main Outcome Measures:
Lawsuits, court rulings, damage awards, and settlements pertaining to PGD following the birth of a child with a genetic defect

Results:
Causes of action pertaining to PGD arise from negligence in performing the procedure as well as failure to properly inform patients of key information, such as inherent errors associated with the PGD process, a facility’s minimal experience in performing PGD, and the option of obtaining PGD. Courts have sympathized with the financial burden involved in caring for children with disabilities. Monetary damage awards are based on the costs of caring for children with debilitating defects, including lifetime medical and custodial care.

Conclusions:
Facilities offering PGD services expose themselves to a new realm of liability in which damage awards can easily exceed the limits of a facility’s insurance policy. Competent laboratory personnel and proper informed consent—with particular care to inform patients of the inherent inaccuracies of PGD—are crucial in helping deter liability.

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