Tryb ofertowy (I)

Tryb ofertowy (I)

Protection of the right to self-determination Social context and kinds of actions (lawsuits). Biomedical science and technology make it possible to know in advance whether a child will be born with certain defects or diseases. These techniques bring with them the possibility of their wrong or incompetent application: doctors may fail to perform the tests which could lead to the discovery of malformations; sometimes the tests are made but the outcome is misdiagnosed. The consequence is often the birth of an impaired child, which has become the object of two different kinds of lawsuits (wrongful birth and wrongful life).

dr R. Strugaa WPAiE Wrongful conception Cause of action for damages The parents sue: the claimant the laboratory or the physician: the defandand for their negligence dr R. Strugaa WPAiE Wrongful conception (birth) birth of an unwanted or unplanned child caused by someone

else's wrongful conduct What is really wrongful is the conduct of a doctor or another third party that caused or did not prevent the conception Wrongful conception an apt term dr R. Strugaa WPAiE Wrongful life cause of action for damages A wrongful life claim is a claim by a child - a disabled child, (issued by its representatives, i.e. the parents) acting

as claimant against a doctor: defandand for having to live a life full of suffering because of a handicap while the child was not supposed to have been born at all but was born anyway because of a negligent act by the doctor or an assistant. dr R. Strugaa WPAiE The notion and historical background The notion of wrongful life derives from a decision of the Appellate Court of Illinois, Zepeda v. Zepeda, where a wealthy

child sued his father for allowing him to be born illegitimate: the plaintiff seeks damages for the deprivation of his right to be a legitimate child, to have a normal home, to have a legal father, to inherit from his father, to inherit from his paternal ancestors and for being stigmatized as a bastard dr R. Strugaa WPAiE The notion and historical background The recognition of the plaintiff's claim would mean to create a new tort, as a consequence, 'encouragement would extend to all others born into the world under conditions they might regard as

adverse. One might seek damages for being born of a certain colour, another because of race; one for being born with a hereditary disease, another for inheriting unfortunate family characteristics; one for being born into a large and destitute family, another because a parent has an unsavoury reputation' dr R. Strugaa WPAiE The historical background II In 1980 the Court of Appeals of Michigan had to decide a case, Grodin v. Grodin, where the child sued his own mother because she continued to take drugs during

pregnancy, not having realised that she was already seven or eight months pregnant. As a result of his mother's taking the drug, the child had developed teeth that were brown and discoloured. dr R. Strugaa WPAiE Wrongful conception/life medical malpractice If one fails to order or correctly perform prenatal tests as to the state of health of the foetus, if for instance a chromosome test is not carried out properly (a case of wrongful genetic counselling), a handicapped child might

be born where otherwise, had the testing been done correctly, the pregnancy would have been terminated by the parents. dr R. Strugaa WPAiE Wrongful conception/life On the one hand the wrongful birth action: the parents sue the laboratory or the physician for his negligence; on the other hand the wrongful life action which is brought by or on behalf of the disabled child himself, sometimes

even against his own parents. dr R. Strugaa WPAiE German case law The German Bundegerichtshof decided an emblematic case in 1983: the parents of a disabled child, prior to the conception of a second one, undergo some genetic tests in order to determine if the same disease might show up in the unborn. The physician reassures the parents but the child is affected by the same disease as the elder sister. The court condemns the physician to pay 10.000 DM as moral damage as well as to provide for the child's rearing. According to the

court, a complete and correct information would have prevented the couple from the conception of the child. Their aim was not only not to give birth to an impaired child, but also not to be exposed to the economic consequences deriving from that birth. As the physician had knowledge of it, he had taken full responsibility of avoiding such consequences; therefore he has to be considered liable dr R. Strugaa WPAiE German case law Holding the physician liable for the birth of the impaired child, the Bundegerichtshof also discussed whether considering the costs of rearing a child as a damage means

establishing the equivalence of 'existence of the child and damage': their response was negative. dr R. Strugaa WPAiE USA case law The liability of the physician or of the laboratories and the consequent acknowlegment of the right to get compensation for damage is recognised in the United States as well. For example the physician who fails to inform the parents that their blood tests revealed that they both were sickle cell carriers and that there was a risk of them bearing a child

with sickle cell disease is condemned to the payment of all expenses "associated with the pregnancy" which include medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages for a reasonable period, as well as damages for any "emotional distress causally resulting from" the wrongful conception. dr R. Strugaa WPAiE English case law In 1993, in England the Court of Appeals , condemned the physician to the payment of a great amount of money, because the parents had not been informed that a reviously aborted child had been impaired. They conceived

another child who was born suffering from bifid spine. dr R. Strugaa WPAiE French case law In France the Cour de Cassation , in 1996, decided the case of a physician who had excluded the possibility of genetic transmission of the neurological diseases which affected the husband. The child suffered from the same disease as the father: the physician was condemned 'pour rparer les consquences dommageables dfinitives des troubles de l'enfant' with respect both of the parents and of the child.

dr R. Strugaa WPAiE The scope of compensation pregnancy extra disability costs

upbringing costs ? (the child, or perhaps a parent, is disabled, and limited to the extra costs attributable to the disability (extra compared to the cost for a nondisabled person). dr R. Strugaa WPAiE

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