$2,000,000 :: Von During

SETTLEMENT : Failure to perform AFP test, baby born with spina bifida

Not all children are born healthy and without incident. While modern medicine is capable of detecting many of the most alarming issues during pregnancy, there are still times when medical professionals fail at discovering and alerting parents of potential serious and life threatening issues. Such was the situation in a 1992 medical malpractice case Lawrence R. Booth and Donald J. Beck of Booth & Koskoff took to court.

The plaintiff in the case was born with a severe deformity known as spina bifida. Spina bifida is a tragic birth defect in which the child’s spinal cord remains open. This condition frequently results in lifelong disabilities like leg paralysis, orthopedic issues, and impaired cerebral functions.

The plaintiff in this case retained the services of Booth & Koskoff to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against his mother’s OB/GYN for the doctor’s failure to perform an AFP blood test as mandated by California state law. An AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) blood test checks the level of AFP in a pregnant woman’s blood and helps doctors determine whether or not the baby has a high risk of being born with spina bifida and anencephaly and thus gives parents the option to abort the fetus.

Attorneys for the defense argued that general that the plaintiff’s general damages were limited by the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) of 1975 and that it was unlikely for their providing for future medical expenses due to MICRA’s collateral source exclusion.

The Booth & Koskoff legal team were able to successfully overcome this defense and secure for their client a settlement of $2,000,000.

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