The Legal Concept of Wrongful Life
Botkin, Jeffrey R.
JAMA. 1988 Mar 11; 259(10): 1541-1545.
"Wrongful birth" suits are malpractice actions in which parents sue a physician for negligent conduct resulting in the birth of an impaired child. "Wrongful life" suits, which are more controversial, are brought on behalf of the impaired infant rather than the parents. Thus, the physician is sued, not for causing the impairment, but for negligent responsibility for the infant's very existence. After tracing the history of wrongful life cases in the U.S., Botkin analyzes the fundamental problems in the wrongful life concept in terms of the physician's alleged duty to the fetus and in terms of the concept of life as a harm. He urges rejection of this relatively new cause of action that threatens the judicial system's traditional respect for the intrinsic value of life. (KIE abstract)
Autonomy; Beneficence; Compensation; Congenital Disorders; Counseling; Consent; Diagnosis; Disclosure; Fetuses; Genetic Counseling; Harm; Infants; Informed Consent; Injuries; Judicial Action; Legal Aspects; Legal Liability; Life; Liability; Malpractice; Moral Obligations; Moral Policy; Negligence; Parents; Physicians; Prenatal Diagnosis; Prenatal Injuries; Quality of Life; Review; Rights; Standards; Torts; Value of Life; Wrongful Life; Wrongful Birth;