Share Information With Women Worldwide

Connect, share information & access knowledge from millions of women worldwide per week.

Sign Up & Post Now

CanDNATestingCompaniesBeLiableForMedicalMalpractice?

Can DNA Testing Companies Be Liable For Medical Malpractice?

There is no doubt that technology continues to make healthcare more accessible to the general public. Having the ability to test for conditions via Skype conference or to send in DNA to a lab is not only convenient, but it is also probably diagnosing millions of illnesses that would never have otherwise been found. 

With every technology comes legal repercussions for the physician, the manufacturer of the technology, and the patient. The newest trend of using DNA to diagnose conditions is allowing people to be diagnosed without ever being seen by a physician. So what is the liability of a genetics testing lab if their results aren’t right? 

If a genetics testing facility gives a patient either a false positive or false negative, what happens if they are wrong? What is their responsibility if the test results in either emotional pain and suffering or not seeking necessary treatment? Are DNA companies providing a great service -- or could they potentially be giving an entire generation a false sense of security?

The Supreme Court in South Carolina is currently deciding a case involving a genetics laboratory that does DNA testing. They are reviewing whether a DNA lab is technically a healthcare provider and therefore able to be sued for medical malpractice. In 2008, South Carolina resident Amy Williams lost her son due to a misclassification of his disorder that stemmed from DNA testing done by Quest Labs. 

Her son died because the doctors used the wrong drug for his seizures due to the laboratory reporting false findings. After taking the incorrectly-prescribed medication his seizures got worse, and he ended up dying in January of 2008.

The argument made by Quest and Athena’s personal injury attorney is that since the lawsuit is a medical malpractice one, it has already outrun the state’s statute of limitations  for medical malpractice lawsuits. The state of South Carolina has a cap limit on the time that you have to file medical malpractice: a suit needs to be filed within three years from the operation, treatment or omission of treatment; that it has to be three years from the discovery that there was a problem, and no more than six years from the date of the incident. 

If the Supreme Court rules that the DNA laboratory is deemed a healthcare provider, then the Williams case lies well outside the parameter of the statute of limitations and has to be thrown out of court. That leaves the family with no recourse for the wrongful death of their child, whether it is a real case or not. 

The stipulation that might let this case stand, however, is one of discovery. If the DNA testing lab is classified as a non-medical entity, then negligence is still a problem for Quest and Athena. If the discovery rules are applied, then the plaintiff has a maximum of three years to file from the date that they discovered the discrepancy. In this case that means the plaintiff would have from when they knew reasonably that negligence was perpetrated -- and the six-year limitation would no longer apply. 
Williams maintains that she didn’t know about the laboratory’s misdiagnosis until well into 2014, which means that the case should be considered as negligence, not malpractice. That would mean that the case doesn’t have to adhere to the same stringent statute of limitations.

That leaves the Supreme Court at the helm of the specifics of this case and any others that follow. Until now, the specifics about how to define DNA laboratories in relation to healthcare providers has not been defined. No matter how the court rules, it will affect this specific case. 

But there is very little evidence that it will affect DNA testing on a grand scale. With so many entities both in healthcare and on the internet to contend with, it is likely that it won’t set a precedent for more than just this one case; it will probably only affect Williams case. 

DNA is a growing field and one that has huge implications for treatment and diagnosis of a variety of healthcare conditions. Whether the laboratory that does the testing or the clinician themselves is at fault for treatment mishaps is up for debate. Although the Williams case is before the Supreme Court, it will likely not have much effect on the rest of genetic testing across the nation. 

You Might Also Like



1 comment

  • Danica
    2mo ago

    I love all your articles @benjiboyo12. So informative. What are you studying in school?

    I love all your articles @benjiboyo12. So informative. What are you studying in school?


Report this post
Report this post

Want an amazing job or internship?

Join millions of women who have found their dream jobs and internships on Mogul.

Get A Top Job Now

Trending Jobs

See All Jobs


Trending Questions

  • Question Harlem Village Academies High School
    Clock 12h

    http://purehealthfacts.com/povella-moisturizer/

    • 1 comment

    • 1 comment

    Top Answer

    After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: [email protected] or call him +2349055637784 you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

  • Question Life & Inspiration
    Clock 1d

    Any tips on starting your own blog???

    • 1 comment

    • 1 comment
    Chessa Reid
    Maryland, United States

    Top Answer

    After being in relationship with Wilson for seven years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that don't believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I meant a spell caster called Dr Zuma zuk and I email him, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: [email protected] or call him +2349055637784 you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

  • Question World Affairs
    Clock 2d

    #AskAMogul: Hi, I'm Alisyn Camerota. I'm an author and broadcast journalist who is co-anchor of CNN's New Day. Ask me anything! Your questions will be answered LIVE 7/25 @ 2pm ET.

    Alisyn Camerota
    Author, TV Journalist & Co-Anchor of CNN’s New Day
    • 21 comments

    • 21 comments
    Alisyn Camerota
    New York, NY, United States

    Top Answer

    Hi Alisyn!
    Forgetting about politics, at what point does advocacy creep into the Journalist's Creed?  Is the Creed outdated or does CNN consider it passe'?  Do you ever feel that the mantra of linear reporting is effective for the business plan or shaping public opinion?

See All Questions