wrongful life action

wrongful life action

(in law) a civil suit usually brought against a physician or health facility on the basis of negligence that resulted in the wrongful birth or life of an infant. The parents of the unwanted child seek to obtain payment from the defendant for the medical expenses of pregnancy and delivery, for pain and suffering, and for the education and upbringing of the child. Wrongful life actions have been brought and won in several situations, including malpracticed tubal ligations, vasectomies, and abortions. Failure to diagnose pregnancy in time for abortion and incorrect medical advice leading to the birth of a defective child also have led to malpractice suits for a wrongful life.
References in periodicals archive ?
However, the common law has traditionally barred a wrongful life action, although state laws have evolved over the years.
The prime reason for disallowing a wrongful life action is that life, even if imperfect, is always preferable to nonlife.
A wrongful life action is similar to a wrongful birth action, with
claims, courts have typically held that a wrongful life action is not
The plaintiff in a wrongful life action does not maintain that his or her existence is wrongful.
In the same way in the 'wrongful life' cases, the reality of a case such as this is that the wrongful life action like that of wrongful birth 'are about money rather than love or family feelings.
Moreover, even if the patients' or surrogates' actions are the result of weighing harms, it need not be the sort that is commensurate with the weighing of harms necessary for showing damages in a wrongful life action.
By the time the case finally reached the state's supreme court, the law had changed again, and the child was allowed to proceed with a wrongful life action.
Despite a state statute that prohibited wrongful birth and wrongful life actions that allege that the pregnancy would have been terminated if the parents had known of the genetic impairment, the state supreme court allowed this case to proceed because the issue was whether the mother would have avoided conception.
Callinan J's statement is misleading, since a wrongful life action does not entail that 'in some cosmic sense' the plaintiff should never have been born: Sherry F Colb, Better To Have Never Been Born?
The Court held it does not, first because establishing damage in wrongful life cases would require an impossible comparison between existence and non-existence, and second because the recognition of wrongful life actions would be contrary to sound legal policy.