Minn. court rules in genetic case

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 16, 2004

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

The Minnesota Supreme Court recently ruled that physicians have a legal duty to inform the parents of a child they are treating about the genetic implications of a child's genetic disorder.

Kimberly Molloy sued three physicians for medical malpractice, claiming that they were negligent in failing to diagnose a genetic disorder in her child. She also claimed that the negligence caused the couple to conceive another child with the same genetic disorder. Physicians countered that they only had a duty to the first child, the person with whom the physician had a physician-patient relationship. The American Medical Association/State Medical Societies Litigation Center and the Minnesota Medical Assn. filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the doctors who were being sued.

In a ruling in late May, the Minnesota Supreme Court said it recognized that it is rare that a physician has a duty to anyone outside of the patient they are treating. But the court said this case is an exception.

"Genetic testing and diagnosis does not affect only the patient," the court wrote. "Both the patient and her family can benefit from accurate testing and diagnosis. And conversely, both the patient and her family can be harmed by negligent testing and diagnosis."

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn