Lawsuit: Medical mistake led to wrongful pregnancy

A 40-year-old mother of three felt she was doing the responsible thing by taking steps to prevent the birth of a fourth child, who would be likely to inherit sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease is a condition in which the blood cells, instead of being soft and round, are C-shaped and hard. When they flow through the vessels, they tend to clump together, causing pain and increasing the chances of infections and stroke.

In 2008, she decided to undergo a tube ligation in order to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. The woman had only her left ovary, so she needed only her left Fallopian tube tied.  

A little more than one year after undergoing the procedure, a pregnancy test revealed that the woman was carrying another baby. It turned out that the doctor who performed the tubal ligation mistakenly tied the right-side tube, leaving the left one intact.

The woman has now sued the medical facility, alleging the physician erroneously tied the wrong tube, resulting in the birth of a child whose probability of having sickle cell disease was great. The child was born with the disease and the mother suffered congestive heart failure shortly after undergoing a cesarean delivery. She recovered, but her medical struggles have compounded. 

It is somewhat uncommon to file a claim against a medical practitioner for wrongful pregnancy, but the mother contends this is a case of pregnancy mismanagement.  

Errors in obstetric care may jeopardize the wellbeing of both mother and infant and can cause a lifetime of hardship to families. When negligent reproductive or prenatal care occurs in North Carolina, victims have the right to hold physicians and medical facilities accountable.

Source: ABC News Good Morning America, “Mom Sues for Wrongful Pregnancy After Failed Sterilization,” Katie Moisse, March 18, 2014

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