Kassama v. Magat
Maryland. Court of Special Appeals
Atlantic Reporter, 2d Series, 2001; 767: 348-369
Court Decision: 767 Atlantic Reporter, 2d Series 348; 28 Feb 2001 (date of decision). The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland held that wrongful life is not a recognized cause of action in Maryland. Millicent Kassama sought medical care from Dr. Magat for her pregnancy. During her first visit with Dr. Magat, an ultrasound showed that Kassama was pregnant with a 17-week-old fetus. Magat referred her for alpha fetoprotein (AFP) testing, and Kassama's results showed an increased risk for Down's syndrome. Because the AFP test was not performed until the fetus was approximately 22 weeks old, and abortions on fetuses older than 24 weeks are not performed in Maryland, Magat informed Kassama that she would likely have to travel out-of-state should she chose to abort. Kassama claimed Magat did not inform her of either the test results or her options. Subsequently, Kassama gave birth to a baby with Down's syndrome. Kassama asserted that the infant would have been aborted but for the physician's negligence, and sought damages on behalf of the child for living in a defective state. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals held that there is no cause of action for wrongful life "because it is an impossible task to calculate damages based on a comparison between life in an impaired state and no life at all." The court affirmed the trial court's judgment for Magat. [KIE/INW]
Date of Decision: 2001 February 28
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