$25 Million Jury Verdict Against LabCorp for Negligent Genetic Testing

Oliver Wuth

A King County Washington jury, after a seven-week trial, has ordered Laboratory Corp of America and Valley Medical Center to pay $50 million to a family resulting from its failure of properly perform fetal genetic tests.  Each defendant will have to pay $25 million.

Plaintiffs were the parents of a severely injured child suffering a rare chromosomal disorder that the parents sought specific genetic testing for, and if found, would not have continued the pregnancy.  The father carries a rare chromosomal abnormality called an unbalance chromosome translocation.  During the pregnancy, the family specifically requested special testing because the genetic defect in question could only be detected if the laboratory was told precisely where to look for the specific translocation.  Apparently, routine chromosomal tests would not pick it up.

Click here to read the full article: LabCorp ordered to pay $25 million in genetic test negligence suit

Due to budget cuts in its maternal-fetal medicine clinic, VMC was reportedly borrowing a genetic counselor from another hospital one day a week while every other hospital in the County had full-time genetic counselors on staff. The family maintained they told VMC of the family history of the severe genetic defect and that the LabCorp procedures call for the referring center to obtain the necessary detailed information, but that the LabCorp personnel did not do the appropriate follow-up to obtain the necessary information.

Due to errors in testing, the parents, Rhea and Brock Wuth were told their son Oliver (pictured above) did not have the chromosomal abnormality.  However, after birth it was found he did and would require 24-hour care for life.  In addition to disputing liability, LabCorp also disputed that the boy needed 24/7 care, maintaining he could live in a group home with only occasional nursing care.