Getting Down with It

There is no real happy ending for anyone involved in this case. Deborah and Ariel Levy sued Legacy Health System for “wrongful birth,” and today a jury sided with the couple, awarding them almost $3 million. When Deborah Levy was pregnant with a third child, she underwent prenatal tests to make sure there were no issues. The Levys were assured by medical personnel that everything was fine, but after their daughter was born, it was discovered she had Down syndrome. The Levys claim they would have terminated the pregnancy if they had known the baby would be born with Down, and thus they sued Legacy.

The Levys contended that Legacy made errors in the tests and that the defect should have been discovered. Down syndrome is caused by a chromosomal abnormality that can be spotted during prenatal tests. Levy had a CVS test done, which is supposed to test fetal tissue. The test came back normal. The Levys now believe the test was incorrectly done and used maternal tissue rather than fetal tissue. Levy had followup ultrasounds that raised some concerns, but she was assured that the baby was fine and would not have Down, and so she did not get an amniocentesis, which would have tested for Down.

The Levys asked for $3 million to help pay for their child’s care, care she will likely need for the rest of her life. Whether the tests were done incorrectly or not will probably never really be known. What is known, though, is everyone will live with the consequences.

For more on this story, see this article.