Wrongful Birth Claim Recognized for the First Time in Iowa
Learning Objectives and CME/Disclosure Information
This activity is intended for healthcare providers delivering care to women and their families.
After completing this activity, the participant should be better able to:
1. Recall the definition of wrongful birth 2. Relate what costs are included when assessing economic damages
Estimated time to complete activity: 0.25 hours
Susan J. Gross, MD, FRCSC, FACOG, FACMG
President and CEO, The ObG Project
Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) requires faculty, planners, and others in control of educational content to disclose all their financial relationships with ineligible companies. All identified conflicts of interest (COI) are thoroughly vetted and mitigated according to PIM policy. PIM is committed to providing its learners with high quality accredited continuing education activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of an ineligible company.
The PIM planners and others have nothing to disclose. The OBG Project planners and others have nothing to disclose.
Faculty: Susan J. Gross, MD, receives consulting fees from Cradle Genomics, and has financial interest in The ObG Project, Inc.
Planners and Managers: The PIM planners and managers, Trace Hutchison, PharmD, Samantha Mattiucci, PharmD, CHCP, Judi Smelker-Mitchek, MBA, MSN, RN, and Jan Schultz, MSN, RN, CHCP have nothing to disclose.
Method of Participation and Request for Credit
Fees for participating and receiving CME credit for this activity are as posted on The ObG Project website. During the period from 1/31/2017 through 1/25/2023, participants must read the learning objectives and faculty disclosures and study the educational activity.
If you wish to receive acknowledgment for completing this activity, please complete the post-test and evaluation. Upon registering and successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation, your certificate will be made available immediately.
For Pharmacists: Upon successfully completing the post-test with a score of 100% and the activity evaluation form, transcript information will be sent to the NABP CPE Monitor Service within 4 weeks.
Joint Accreditation Statement
In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and The ObG Project. Postgraduate Institute for Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
Physician Continuing Medical Education
Postgraduate Institute for Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Continuing Nursing Education
The maximum number of hours awarded for this Continuing Nursing Education activity is 0.2 contact hours.
In June 2017 the Iowa Supreme Court, in a 6-1 ruling (Plowman v. Fort Madison Community Hospital, No. 15–0974), recognized a personal injury claim for ‘wrongful birth’ for the first time. In March 2017, Texas as the twelfth state joined Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Utah to outlaw wrongful birth suits. Only 12 states have laws not allowing wrongful birth claims. The remaining states recognize the claim by statute or case law.
A wrongful birth claim arises when parents of a child born with a detectable birth defect allege that they would have avoided conception or terminated the pregnancy but for the physician’s negligent failure to inform them of the likelihood of the birth defect. The advances in the detectability of birth defects and genetic conditions coupled with the wide acceptance of prenatal testing support the acceptance of wrongful birth claims. In addition, a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy also played a role.
In the Iowa case, the parents allege the defendants failed to accurately interpret, monitor, respond to, and communicate the fetal abnormalities. Ultrasound findings consisted of an abnormally small head and a sub-optimal view of brain anatomy at 22 weeks. Follow-up was recommended, but the parents were not informed of the ultrasound results. The parents stated that if they had been informed of the abnormalities, they would have terminated the pregnancy.
If successful on their claim in the trial court, then the issue of damages must be determined. Damages fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are medical costs, higher costs of raising and supporting a child with a disability, and loss of parental wages for not being to work while caring for the disabled child. Non-economic damages consist of compensation for emotional distress or mental anguish. Some states have placed limits on whether non-economic damages are compensable and how much compensation can be awarded.
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Disclosure of Unlabeled Use
This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications.
The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.
Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information
presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient’s conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer’s product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.
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