Parents Sue Physicians After Their Children’s Embryos Are Switched with Another Couple
Two mothers gave birth to the other woman’s child after Dr. Eliran Mor and the California Center for Reproductive Health (CCRH) in Los Angles allegedly mixed-up their embryos’ in 2019. The babies are both girls and were born a week apart in September 2019. Both couples unwittingly raised the wrong child until DNA tests confirmed the embryos were swapped. The children were switched back in January 2020.
Daphna Cardinale and Alexander Cardinale had their suspicions that the girl they had been raising for the initial few months wasn’t theirs because the child didn’t look like either of them. They were devastated when they learned the baby Daphna had given birth to wasn’t theirs and had to inform their then five-year-old daughter that her little sister was actually another baby. The lawsuit accuses Dr. Mor of medical malpractice, breach of contract, negligence, and fraud for mistakenly implanting the embryo made from Daphna’s egg and Alexander’s sperm into the other woman.
Is It Fraudulent to Make a Mistake?
Some California lawsuits will add fraud claims to otherwise simple negligence lawsuits. Although it is a defendant may have assured a plaintiff that a certain procedure or product would be done or made correctly, that does not always mean that the defendant committed fraud. A defendant would have to know that he or she had not performed everything according to task. An otherwise simple mistake would not justify a claim for fraud, though that defendant would probably still be liable for negligence.
In most cases, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant actually did something wrong or failed to take an action that he or she should have taken. However, there are some mistakes that are obviously below the standard of care for a physician. For instance, a physician should not leave a cloth or scissor inside a patient or operate on the wrong body part. Inserting an embryo into the wrong patient is similar to operating on the wrong body part and would likely be viewed a mistake that a competent doctor would not make.
Paternity issues were likely a brief issue in this matter as the girls’ birth certificates would have listed the wrong set of parents as their birth parents. However, if all four parents agreed to correct the mistake they could have signed a proposed agreement and obtained a court order to rectify the legal records. Alternatively, they could have agreed to voluntarily give up custody of the child they had and legally adopt their biological child.