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Case Continues

A South Carolina court has been weighing a lawsuit filed by Amy Williams against Athena Diagnostics, which has since been acquired by Quest Diagnostics, The Post and Courier writes, adding that the court recently deemed that Athena was acting as a healthcare provider.

As GenomeWeb has reported, whether Williams' wrongful death lawsuit can go forward hinges on whether the genetic lab is considered a healthcare provider, as there is a difference in the statute of limitations for medical providers.

Williams' son Christian Millare started experiencing seizures a few months after birth, The Post and Courier writes. As part of the effort to figure out the cause of his seizures, Christian underwent genetic testing of his SCN1A gene, which is linked to Dravet syndrome, an epileptic condition, GenomeWeb says. That test found that Christian had a variant within his SCN1A gene, but Athena reported that it was unclear whether it was causing his seizures, it adds.

Williams contends she never learned of the report until after Christian's death and that the literature at the time of Christian's death included reports of a girl with Dravet syndrome and the same variant — and that Athena's Chief Director of Genetics was an author on one paper.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled at the end of June that Athena was acting as a licensed healthcare provider, as GenomeWeb reported at the time. The Post and Courier adds that the ruling doesn't help Williams' suit, but that she and her legal team argue that the testing company should still be liable for negligence outside the malpractice statute. It adds that a decision on that matter is still to come from a federal district court judge.

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