After her doctor botched a tubal ligation sterilization procedure, an Illinois woman has sued for “wrongful pregnancy.” She gave birth to a daughter with sickle cell disease.
Cynthia Williams did not believe she could become pregnant because she had lost her right ovary at age 12 and in 2008 had undergone tubal ligation to have the Fallopian tube to the left ovary tied off, ABC News reports. But six months after the procedure, Williams was pregnant because the wrong tube had been tied. Medical records from the time of the baby’s birth indicate that the left Fallopian tube was intact and “normal in appearance.” The baby, Kennadi, now four years old, was born with sickle cell disease, a condition in which the child does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. Misshapen red blood cells do not flow normally through blood vessels, resulting in pain, infections, stroke, organ damage, and other complications.
Through the lawsuit, Williams is seeking damages for “personal injury to her, emotional distress, and for lost wages” and compensation for “the extraordinary expenses” incurred in raising Kennadi, ABC News reports.
Though tubal ligation is considered as a “permanent method of birth control,” the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology reports that as many as 37 women per 1,000 who undergo the procedure become pregnant within 10 years. In Williams’s case, the pregnancy resulted not from a tube regenerating but from a tube being left intact. Williams’s doctor asked to have the suit dismissed. His attorney argued that under Illinois law parents cannot recover costs associated with raising a child born with a genetic defect after an unsuccessful sterilization procedure. But last month the appellate court ruled that the case could go forward, according to ABC News.