A couple of Jewish and Eastern European descent sued an obstetrician-gynecologist for medical malpractice because their child was born with Tay-Sachs. Tay-Sachs is a hereditary disorder of the nervous system that is carried by those of Jewish Eastern European descent. It is the couple’s contention that the obstetrician-gynecologist while looking after and examining the wife during her pregnancy should have known that they were prime candidates to be carriers of the dread genetic disease. They insist that the obstetrician-gynecologist should have ordered them tested and their fetus screened for it. For had the couple known that they were carriers and that their baby had the gene responsible for the Tay-Sachs disease, they would have aborted the baby to prevent the extreme pain and suffering the child underwent. Their child was born on August 21, 1972 and died even before reaching age 2 on June 26, 1974.
The parents sued the obstetrician-gynecologist for damages for the personal injury consisting of emotional distress at their child’s suffering and her death; they also sued for the pain and anguish they felt at her untimely death. They also ask for compensation for their baby’s medical, hospital, nursing and funeral expenses.
The obstetrician-gynecologist moved for the dismissal of the case stating that the parents do not have any right to be compensated for the pain and suffering of their child.