Medical Malpractice and Adoption
by: David J. Cutshaw, Attorney
In an interesting case, the Indiana Court of Appeals recently ruled that adoptive parents could proceed with a medical malpractice case against a hospital for misrepresenting the health of a child the couple sought to adopt. In Jeffrey v. Methodist Hospital, adoptive parents asked the hospital for the health records of an infant to see if the infant had any major medical problems before they decided to adopt the infant. The hospital “neglected” to provide the adoptive parents and their attorneys with a sonogram report that showed the infant had a hole in his brain which was indicative of severe developmental issues. The adoptive parents later learned of the child’s severe deficiencies and were allowed to proceed with their claim against the hospital.
What makes this case particularly interesting is the fact that the Jeffreys had rejected three previous prospective adoptions based on information that the adoptee might be a special needs baby. Because of their desire to not raise a special needs child, the Jeffreys had made multiple inquiries regarding the medical records of the mother and child in this particular matter.
While the Court of Appeals did rule that the adoptive parents could proceed with a medical malpractice case against the hospital, the medical malpractice case against the doctor was dismissed because the claim against the doctor was not filed within the two year statute of limitations.