An Illinois mother filed a wrongful pregnancy lawsuit after a failed sterilization led to the birth of a little girl who suffers from sickle cell disease. Forty-year old Cynthia Williams had undergone a tubal ligation in 2008, and was shocked to learn she was with child just six months later. Williams was a known carrier of sickle cell disease – a genetic blood disorder that could leave her children with life-threatening complications. Her second son was already born with the disease, prompting her decision to opt for permanent birth control.
Her daughter Kennadi was born in February 2010, and was immediately diagnosed with sickle cell disease, which is associated with a host of health problems including an increased risk of stroke, reduced immune function, bacterial bone infection and aseptic bone necrosis.
In her wrongful birth lawsuit, Williams is demanding monetary damages for “personal injury to her, emotional distress, and for lost wages,” in addition to “the extraordinary expenses” she is anticipating considering Kennadi’s medical condition.
Little girl born with sickle cell disease
Shortly after Kennadi was delivered via Cesarean section, Williams suffered congestive heart failure. She was placed in ICU for two weeks, and was unable to care for her child or work for nine months during her recovery. Meanwhile, the entire family pitched in to help raise the newborn.
Williams told ABC News, “I love Kennadi with all my heart, and that’s the honest-to-God truth…But it’s been a life change for everybody –- my whole family.” The plaintiff, who is now 44 years old, claims that it’s exceptionally tiring raising a “rambunctious” and medically-needy four-year old girl.
Though tubal ligation is supposed to be a permanent form of contraception, and Williams only had one functioning ovary, she couldn’t believe the operation had been botched. She finally found a medical malpractice attorney to take her case, and after filing suit in 2010, discovered her “wrongful pregnancy” claim was the first of its kind in Illinois.
Williams’ surgeon states that he complied with the accepted standard of care when he performed the woman’s tubal ligation. Though his attorney tried to get the suit dismissed, an appellate court ruled the claim could proceed on February 26, 2014.
“We respectfully disagree with [the appellate court’s] decision,” the defendant’s attorney told ABC News. It remains to be seen if the surgeon will appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Options for filing a New York wrongful birth lawsuit
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) estimates that out of 1,000 women who undergo tubal ligation, some 37 may become pregnant within a decade of the procedure. An unexpected pregnancy — if the direct result of surgical negligence — may be grounds for filing a wrongful birth lawsuit in New York.
Surgeons, doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners may be held liable if adverse surgical outcomes are caused by treatment that fell below the “standard of care.” If you are considering filing a NY wrongful pregnancy lawsuit and would like more information on the options available to you, please contact The Sanders Firm today.
Our medical malpractice lawyers will evaluate your case at no charge and advise you on your eligibility for seeking compensation through the courts. For a confidential consultation, please call 1.800.FAIR.PLAY. Resources
- ABC News, Mom Sues for Wrongful Pregnancy After Failed Sterilization, http://abcnews.go.com/Health/woman-sues-wrongful-pregnancy-failed-sterilization/story?id=22946272
- WebMD, Sickle Cell Disease Overview, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/sickle-cell-disease-topic-overview