$50 Million Awarded in Birth Defect Case

A jury in Washington state awarded $50 million to a couple whose son was born with a rare genetic disorder, marking the largest individual award of damages in the state's history.

The lawsuit was filed by Brock and Rhea Wuth against Valley Medical Center and LabCorp, a North Carolina company, after their son was born with unbalanced chromosome disorder despite a genetic test which revealed that he did not have the rare genetic disease.

Rhea Wuth went to Valley Medical Center to undergo fetal testing based on her and her husband's family medical history, which indicated that their son had a 50-50 chance of being born with the disorder.

The hospital took a blood sample from Wuth and sent it to LabCorp for testing. The hospital, however, failed to provide instructions as to where the lab should look for the chromosomal defect, and the lab's employees failed to ask the hospital for the crucial information. As a result, the test came back negative for the disorder.

The Wuths' son, Oliver, was born on July 12, 2008, with the disorder, causing him to require around-the-clock care, have an IQ lower than 70 and be unable to speak intelligibly.

A King County Superior Court jury awarded the couple $50 million on Tuesday.