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Surgical error results in pregnancy

Colorado residents may be interested in an Illinois malpractice suit against a surgeon who allegedly failed to properly perform a tubal ligation. According to court documents, the woman gave birth to a daughter in 2010 despite prior tubal ligation surgery to prevent the pregnancy.

The 44-year-old woman and her husband carry the trait for sickle cell disease, a genetic disorder that is inherited. It causes the contour of red blood cells to change. The cells clump in the blood vessels and can cause pain, stroke and infection. If both parents carry the trait for sickle cell, children have a one in four chance of developing the disease.

The parents had three children prior to their daughter's birth. Their son has the disease and another child, a daughter, is a carrier. The mother decided to have a tubal ligation in 2008. She lost her right ovary when she was 12 years old; however, the Fallopian tube on the right was still intact. Her left ovary and left Fallopian tube were functional. The surgeon's notes, according to reports, indicate he sealed the right Fallopian tube instead of the necessary left tube. She gave birth to her fourth child, who has sickle cell disease, in 2010.

The mother has filed a suit for personal injury, the expenses required to adequately care for the child and lost wages. An appellate court has recently allowed the case to proceed despite the doctor's motion to dismiss it.

A surgeon has a responsibility to the patient to avoid surgical error. Being prepared for the surgery is essential. As in this case, when a surgeon operates on the wrong site, the consequences may be devastating to the patient and their family. A patient in this situation may consider filing a suit to recover compensatory damages.

Source: ABC News, "Mom Sues for Wrongful Pregnancy After Failed Sterilization", Katie Moisse, March 18, 2014

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