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Valley Medical Center, lab ordered to pay $50 million for failed test

A King County jury has ordered Valley Medical Center and Laboratory Corporation of America to pay $50 million dollars for failing to accurately identify a severe genetic abnormality during a Burien woman’s preganancy.

Rhea Wuth’s obstetrician referred her to the Renton Hospital in 2007 to test for genetic disorders in her unborn child because her husband Brock and his family were known to carry a rare, extremely disabling disorder.

Attorney Todd Gardner says the couple was told their baby would be healthy, but later would discover the correct test was never done.

Gardner says as a result, now 5-year-old Ollie was born with serious cognitive and physical defects that will require life-long medical care.

“It was a combination of mistakes at Valley Medical Center where their Maternal Fetal Medicine Center was understaffed to the point that the people who should have been there making the decisions about the tests and getting the right information to the lab were not there,” Gardner says.

Gardner accuses the hospital of putting profits before patients because it cut genetic counseling from three days a week to just one, and failing to replace the full time MFM manager.

Valley Medical Center apologized but defended its actions in a statement to KING 5:

“We are very sorry for the tragedy the Wuth family has suffered. We continue to believe…staff members acted appropriately.”

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