Woman sues doctor over botched sterilization

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

New York residents may be interested in an Illinois woman who sued her doctor for “wrongful pregnancy” after a procedure meant to sterilize her failed. The medical malpractice suit claims that the woman’s tubal ligation procedure in 2008 was botched. She became pregnant about six months after the surgery. The child was born with sickle cell disease, which is caused by genes that both the woman and her husband carry. She says she had wanted the procedure in part to prevent having another child with the disease after her second oldest son was born with the condition.

Experts say it is possible in rare instances for women to become pregnant after having their tubes tied. However, the woman’s attorney says this case is different because the woman only has one ovary. Her right ovary was removed in a medical procedure when she was 12 years old. As a result, the doctor only needed to tie her left Fallopian tube. The suit claims that he tied the right tube instead.

The woman is suing the doctor for personal injury, emotional distress, lost wages and the expense of raising a child with a genetic disorder. She described the pregnancy and delivery as very difficult. Attorneys for the physician have argued that Illinois state law doesn’t allow parents to sue for the costs of raising a child with a medical condition after undergoing a sterilization procedure. However, on Feb. 26, an appellate court disagreed with that decision and ruled that the suit could move forward.

The woman’s own attorney admitted that she nearly didn’t take the case because suing a doctor for failed sterilization is generally not successful. The procedure can fail without any medical malpractice. However, the allegation that this doctor only needed to tie one tube and tied the wrong one makes this case different from others.

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