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McFarlane v Tayside Health Board [1999]

Facts

  • A doctor performed a sterilisation operation on the father, negligently such that it reversed and caused the wrongful birth of a healthy child

Issue

  • Could the parents make a mother’s claim and a parents’ claim against the hospital

Decision

  • The mother’s claim was allowed, the parents’ claim disallowed

Reasoning

  • A court could not issue an adoption or abortion law (the latter not applicable in this case)
  • It is morally unacceptable to allow the claim
  • The benefits of a child are incalculable. In truth, a child is a mixed blessing
  • It would be subversive to enjoy the benefits of a child but to transfer the responsibility to others

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