Is a doctor responsible for paying the costs of raising a child that was born due to his mistake in a sterilization procedure? According to Yahoo News, one Illinois woman believes so. Cynthia Williams is suing her doctor after an unsuccessful surgical procedure left her with a sickly baby girl. This is the first case of its kind to be tried in Illinois and has the potential to change reproductive law nationwide.
What makes this case stand out are the circumstances surrounding the doctor’s error. Williams lost her right ovary at 12 years old to a cyst. Twenty-eight years later, after successfully giving birth to three children, Williams and her husband decided to have her medically sterilized. The operating doctor, Dr. Byron Rosner of Reproductive Health Associates, planned to tie Williams' fallopian tubes. However, he was advised to only tie her left ovary, seeing that she had lost her right one in childhood. Somewhere in the operating room Rosner mistakenly tied the tubes of the already missing right ovary, leaving the left perfectly intact. The mistake was not discovered until six months later when Williams stared at the blue "positive" line on her home pregnancy test.
Not only had Williams given birth despite her prevention measures, but the baby girl, Kennadi, was born with sickle cell disease. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes some blood cells to become long and narrow in form, as opposed to the normal round blood cell. These misshaped blood cells can clog blood vessels and prevent organs and tissue from receiving enough oxygen. The disease will not only cause Kennadi many periods of pain in her life, but it means that she will require constant attention and expensive medical needs.
Williams and her husband are seeking damages for personal injury caused to the mother, emotional distress, lost wages, and a list of other expenses that they blame completely on the doctor’s faulty surgery. Although the family already has three older children, one of whom also suffers from sickle cell anemia, they claim that Kennadi’s conception was solely due to the doctor’s mistake. According to Williams, the family needs each relative to help care for the sick little girl. Williams claimed that she does not think it’s fair that she should have this child. “She is the absolute love of my life but it’s hard. Sometimes people think I’m her grandmother,“ Williams added, referring to the fact that she gave birth to Kennadi at 40 years old.