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Portland Wrongful Birth Attorney

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About Johnston Law Firm


We Handle Wrongful Birth Cases in Portland and Throughout Oregon

Going through a pregnancy, delivery, and raising a child can be stressful and expensive even if the child is generally healthy. However, if a child is born with a serious and long-lasting medical condition, parents can face a lifetime of medical bills and caretaking costs. If a child is born severely disabled, they may not fully develop mentally or physically and may never be able to work or live independently. In some cases in which a fetus is diagnosed with having serious permanent impairments, the parents may choose to terminate the pregnancy for many reasons.

Portland has many outstanding obstetricians who provide high quality care to expecting mothers and many of whom are part of esteemed associations that encourage the excellence in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. Part of the expected care of pregnant women is to identify any possible complications of the pregnancy or birth and to diagnose any serious medical conditions of the child. Such diagnosis not only protects the health of the mother but also allows the parents to make an informed decision regarding the continuation of the pregnancy.

Even the best medical professionals can make mistakes and, in many cases, parents are surprised to learn their child was born with a severe condition that should have been identified at an early stage of the pregnancy. In such cases, the parents may have the right to bring a legal case against the negligent doctor for a claim of “wrongful birth” in Multnomah County civil court. Oregon has specific laws regarding wrongful birth claims, so you should always discuss your rights and options with an experienced Portland wrongful birth lawyer as soon as possible.

The Extraordinarily High Costs Of Raising a Seriously Ill Child

Some of the conditions that are at the heart of wrongful birth cases include the following:

  • Down syndrome;
  • Cystic fibrosis;
  • Tay-Sachs disease
  • Spina bifida;
  • Other serious genetic abnormalities.

Raising a child with a severe congenital medical condition can be extraordinarily costly. The associated disabilities of such children can cause them to require complex medical equipment, medical procedures, and constant care. For example, a child may require the following:

  • Corrective surgeries;
  • Extensive hospital stays;
  • Wheelchairs;
  • Communication devices;
  • Accessible home and vehicle; and/or
  • Daily caretakers.

The costs of these necessities can easily rise into the millions of dollars over the course of the child’s life and the parents will be left with the financial burden of such.

When Can You Bring A Wrongful Birth Claim?

You cannot bring a wrongful birth claim anytime you are surprised that you child had a medical issue. Instead, like other types of medical malpractice claims, you must prove that your doctor acted in a negligent manner. Simple mistakes do not generally rise to the level of medical negligence. Instead, the doctor must act in a way that is inconsistent with the standard of care expected by a medical professional in that particular situation. This means that if another doctor may not have identified the child’s condition, you may not have a claim.

In a valid wrongful birth claim, you must prove the following:

  • You had an established doctor-patient relationship;
  • The doctor negligently failed to diagnose your child’s serious medical condition or failed to properly warn you of the risk of having a child with this medical condition;
  • You were therefore unable to make an informed decision regarding the possible termination of the pregnancy due to the medical condition; and
  • You suffered harm as a result.

If you successfully prove the above elements, you are entitled to compensation for the extraordinary costs of raising your child with their particular medical issue.

The evidence required to prove medical negligence can be extensive and complicated and often involves the analysis and testimony of medical experts. In addition, doctors and their malpractice insurance companies will often work hard to call your evidence into doubt in order to avoid liability whenever possible. For these reasons, it is imperative to have a Portland attorney handling your case with the skill and resources needed to successfully handle a wrongful birth case.

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How We Can Help

Wrongful birth cases can be extremely personal and emotionally charged, as they directly involve your role as a parent to a child who suffers from serious medical issues and impairments. It is important to have a wrongful birth lawyer who knows how to handle this type of claim with the commitment and attention that you and your child deserve. At the Johnston Law Firm, we have represented the rights of many Portland families in many types of injury cases, including wrongful birth. Call for a free consultation at (503) 546-3167.

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