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Told That We Had Nothing to Worry About': Parents Sue for 'Wrongful Birth' After Daughter Born With Down Syndrome


"It was devastating."

The parents of a child born with Down syndrome are suing a Portland, Ore. health center for "wrongful birth," saying they would have aborted their daughter had they known she had a chromosomal abnormality.

Deborah and Ariel Levy filed suit against Legacy Health, blaming their maternity center and lab for allegedly botching the prenatal test that should have revealed that their daughter, Kalanit, has an extra 21st chromosome, the Oregonian reported.

The couple, who also have two young sons, are suing for the expected lifetime costs of caring for their now-4-year-old daughter -- an estimated $3 million. A jury began deliberating their case Thursday.

According to the Oregonian, hospital staff told the Levys when their daughter was born in 2007 that it looked like she had Down syndrome. When a doctor asked Deborah Levy -- who at 34 years old was at an increased risk for having a baby with a genetic disorder -- whether she had undergone prenatal testing she said yes, and that the results had been normal. However, a subsequent blood test performed just after Kalanit was born confirmed the diagnosis.

The Levys' lawyer contended the doctor who performed the prenatal test -- called a chorionic villus sampling, or CVS -- erred in taking a sample of maternal tissue, rather than fetal tissue, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, Legacy's attorney held that all proper procedures were followed, and said Kalanit's form of Down syndrome means a significant number of her cells don't have an extra chromosome.

"We were told that we had nothing to worry about," Ariel Levy told jurors of receiving the initial test results, according to the Oregonian.

But when the baby's blood test results came back with the news, Deborah Levy said, "It was devastating."

The parents, whose sons are both healthy, said they worry about Kalanit's future medical problems and the extra care she'll need all her life. They've been told she likely won't ever be able to live on her own or support herself.

A previous Oregonian report said the Levys were initially seeking $14 million to cover the cost of raising their daughter, including for education, medical care and other therapies.

The Levys' lawyer said the couple have received death threats and the judge overseeing the case has banned courtroom photos of them for safety reasons.

The subject of prenatal testing has at times been a heated one during the presidential campaign. As The Blaze previously reported, GOP contender Rick Santorum, the father of a child with a genetic disorder, got into an emotional debate on the topic with CBS's Bob Schieffer last month.

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