Surely you've heard of a wrongful death lawsuit, but have you ever heard of a wrongful pregnancy suit? That's what a mom in Illinois is claiming right now. Cynthia Williams is suing the doctor who performed her tubal ligation because she got pregnant with a sick child after the surgery that was supposed to render her sterile.
The decision to sue has drawn criticism of the 40-year-old mother of four from folks who worry about the message Williams is sending her daughter. But what about the message she's sending the medical community?
According to Williams' lawsuit, she and husband Kenneth discovered that they both carried a trait for sickle cell anemia after the birth of their second child. They decided not to have any more children ... because they didn't want to risk passing down a dangerous hereditary disease to another child. Unfortunately the rhythm method didn't work ... they got pregnant again, which is when they decided to seek a more permanent birth control option.
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Got that? They weren't just done having kids. They were done having kids because of a serious health condition!
What's more, the lawsuit alleges Williams' doctor botched the surgery. Because she'd lost her right ovary to a cyst at age 12, the Illinois mom only needed to have the tube to her left ovary severed or "tied." Unfortunately, Williams says the doctor tied the wrong tube!
Six months later, she got pregnant with daughter Kennadi, who was born with sickle cell anemia. The 4-year-old will face a life of health complications, from possible strokes to pain and infections.
Can you blame her mom for being upset?
People can go on and on about this little girl's rights and how she should be loved and protected, but what about the rights of her mother? Can't we have both? Can't a mom talk to her daughter about what's going on, make sure she understands this is a medical issue and not a test of love?
To me this sounds like a pretty clear-cut case of a woman suing her doctor for malpractice. It's not about how much she does or doesn't love her child. It's about a woman going into a medical practitioner's office for a procedure and her right to expect that the doctor will DO his job.
Sterilization is a tricky thing because the result of a doctor getting it wrong -- whether on purpose or by accident -- is the creation of a human being. No one wants to say that a human being shouldn't exist.
But sometimes we have to have uncomfortable conversations because they're the right ones to have. A doctor can't get away with screwing up someone's surgery. Period.
What would it take for you to sue for "wrongful pregnancy"? How would you tell your kids?
Image via Photos by Lina/Flickr