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DECISIONS Young’s e-mail address is gyoungnlj.com. there exists no common law cause of action for parental loss of consortium resulting from serious injuries to a child, the Texas Supreme Court said on July 3 in an issue of first impression. Roberts v. Williamson, nos. 01-0765, 01-0766. A pediatrician placed a newborn on a pediatric ventilator after she began suffering from severe acidosis. But the ventilator malfunctioned, and the infant did not receive oxygen for several minutes. Later, the pediatrician administered sodium bicarbonate to the child. Soon thereafter, the child was transported to another medical center. The child now suffers from brain damage, has a permanent shunt implanted in her skull and is developmentally delayed. In the parents’ suit against the pediatrician, a jury found the doctor 15% responsible and ordered her to pay 15% of the award, including damages for loss of filial consortium. The court of appeals affirmed the award. Declining to extend a claim for loss of consortium to the parents of a child with a nonfatal injury, the Supreme Court explained that a parent is in a less dependent position in a relationship with a child. Although a parent may bring a loss-of-consortium claim for the wrongful death of a child, that kind of claim makes more sense because a child who survives has his or her own cause of action against the tortfeasor.

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