The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled that a woman who was told by her doctor she could not possibly conceive but went on to give birth to a child with Down’s Syndrome may seek damages for medical malpractice and the emotional distress she suffered when she discovered she was pregnant.
The case – Cichewicz v. Salesin – is important because it clarifies state law regarding wrongful conception claims. As the ruling states, “while wrongful conception cases have consistently been permitted in Michigan, issues have arisen regarding the types of damages recoverable.” The court had previously ruled in 2014 in this same matter that the woman was entitled to “traditional medical malpractice damages,” which included “the pain and anxiety of child birth, lost wages [and] medical and hospital expenses,” but not costs associated with raising the child. It sent the case back to the lower court for trial.
The woman, who had been told by her doctor she had damaged fallopian tubes and would never be able to conceive, proceeded with her wrongful conception case, seeking damages for emotional distress. The trial court, however, would not permit evidence to be presented to the jury regarding the impact that the discovery she had conceived had on her. She appealed, asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to clarify the intent of its previous ruling. The court sided with the woman, saying, definitively, “the damages plaintiff seeks are allowable.”
This case illustrates the complexities of medical malpractice lawsuits and the damages to which a plaintiff may be entitled. If you have been injured at the hands of a doctor or health care provider, you need a team of attorneys and experts to guide you through the law and help you pursue the best possible outcome. Please contact Sommers Schwartz’s Medical Malpractice Litigation Group today to discuss your situation.