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Misdiagnosing Down syndrome

All Pennsylvania expectant parents are concerned that their child be born healthy. This is in part why doctors are more frequently being taken to task for failing to diagnose Down syndrome during prenatal screenings before the child is born.

A couple was recently assured following such a screening that their child appeared healthy. The child instead was born with Down syndrome and the parents and their attorney are now suing for $7 million. The parents feel such an amount would be necessary in order to provide the child with a lifetime of care.

There are a variety of types of genetic screening option a couple can go through to determine if a child is or is not healthy. However, certain of these options will only assess risks that a child will be born with Down syndrome while other screenings will actually reveal the presence of Down syndrome in at least 99 percent of such situations. One genetic counselor hinted that no test is 100 percent accurate as room needs to be made "because of human error."

Whatever the consequences of such a misdiagnosis, parents are owed the most accurate information concerning the health of the unborn child so that they can weigh all of their options. Ultimately, it is the parents that will have to provide a lifetime of service and care for their child, and knowing what they and the expectant child may be facing through the course of a life can avoid the emotional shock of discovering the child was born with a genetic defect.

Source: ABC News, "Couple Sues Over Down Syndrome Misdiagnosis," by Kim Carollo, March 2, 2012

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