Wrongful Life (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
A type of MEDICAL MALPRACTICE claim brought on behalf of a child born with birth defects, alleging that the child would not have been born but for negligent advice to, or treatment of, the parents.
Since the early 1970s, TORT actions for wrongful life have been filed in U.S. courts. In a typical wrongful life action, the parents of a child born with birth defects sue on behalf of the child. Generally, the parents sue their doctor or a medical testing company for NEGLIGENCE, claiming that the failure to diagnose an illness in the motheror example, rubella in the early stages of pregnancyrevented the opportunity for the mother to have an ABORTION. As a result, the child is born with impaired health.
Essentially, the child alleges that because of the defect, he would have been better off not being born at all. To bring a wrongful life action, the defect must be one that could only have been averted by preventing the birth of the child; otherwise the child would bring an ordinary negligence action. Other types of defects that can be diagnosed early in pregnancy include Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, neurofibromatosis, and Down's syndrome.
Only a small number of states permit wrongful life actions. The many courts that have rejected wrongful life claims have cited two general reasons. First, the courts are reluctant to hold that a...
(The entire section is 448 words.)
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