Virginia: Medical Malpractice – a Lawyer’s Fetus

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On July 12, 2018, Fairfax Circuit Court issued a 5-page scholarly letter opinion and order overruling the medical malpractice defendants’ Demurrer and holding that “the Virginia Wrongful Death Act permits the distribution of damages to statutory beneficiaries of a fetus beyond the natural mother”. The case is Healey v. Perfectly Female Women’s Healthcare, P.C., No. CL-2017-17132.

Healey concurred with Velvin v. Tabb, 96 Va. Cir. 208 (Petersburg Jul. 31, 2017), and found that the Virginia Wrongful Death Act was “ambiguous,” and that its “plain, obvious and rational meaning” was that the father and siblings were statutory beneficiaries of a fetus too. Healey rejected the novel defense argument not made in Velvin that it was necessary to decide that a fetus was a “person”.