Claim of failure to test for cystic fibrosis
A 44-year-old Montana woman gave birth to a child who was subsequently diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). The woman sued those involved with her prenatal care, including the certified nurse practitioner (CNP) and the physician who performed chorionic villus sampling (CVS), claiming that had she known the child had CF, she would have terminated the pregnancy.
The woman alleged that she requested genetic testing, including testing for CF, when she had her prenatal visit with the CNP. The nurse argued that the patient requested testing for concerns related to advanced maternal age and not CF, but that the patient was provided with brochures that included information about testing for CF. The brochure was clear that the initial screening for CF was a blood test of the parents to determine if they were carriers of the CF gene, and that if the results from both were positive, the material gathered from amniocentesis or CVS would be tested. The nurse alleged that the patient did not request the necessary blood tests for CF carrier screening or any CF testing. The patient admitted that she did not read the brochure on CF provided to her.
The patient contended that the physician did not tell her what the material obtained from the CVS procedure would be tested for and that she did not have genetic counseling. The physician argued that he informed the patient that the test was for conditions related to advanced maternal age, such as chromosomal abnormalities including Down syndrome. He further contended that he specifically informed the patient of the availability of blood testing for CF carrier screening of both parents, which is necessary prior to testing for CF in the fetus because of the more than 1000 mutations of CF. He claimed that the patient declined the CF blood tests at that time.