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Plowman v. Fort Madison Community Hospital

896 N.W. 2d 393 (2017)

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Plowman v. Fort Madison Community Hospital

Iowa Supreme Court

896 N.W. 2d 393 (2017)

Facts

Pamela and Jeremy Plowman (plaintiffs) were married and had two children. Pamela became pregnant with her third child, Z.P., in 2010 and underwent an ultrasound at approximately 22 weeks into her pregnancy at the Fort Madison Community Hospital (the hospital) (defendant). The ultrasound report revealed that the Z.P. displayed head abnormalities and recommended follow-up. The measurements of Z.P.’s head circumference indicated that his head was in less than the third-to-sixth percentile. However, Pamela’s doctor told her that the ultrasound showed that everything was fine, and no follow-up was recommended or completed. In the months following Z.P.’s birth, Pamela noticed problems with development and sought treatment from a specialist. Z.P. was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, microcephaly, and other impairments, and Z.P. will likely not be able to ever walk or speak. When Z.P. was not sick, he was happy and a good baby. Pamela enjoyed spending time with him. Pamela and Jeremy sued the hospital, her doctors, and others (defendants). The Plowmans alleged that the defendants failed to accurately interpret, diagnose, and communicate the fetal abnormalities seen in the ultrasound. Pamela alleged that she would have terminated the pregnancy if she had been accurately informed of the abnormalities. The Plowmans sought damages for the cost of caring for Z.P., mental anguish, and loss of income. The defendants moved to dismiss the claim, arguing that Iowa does not recognize claims of wrongful birth. The trial court granted the motion, and the Plowmans appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Waterman, J.)

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