It sounds unbelievable, especially considering how many women spend years of their life and thousands of dollars with their physicians just trying to become pregnant. Not the case for a 40-year-old mother of four from Illinois. Cynthia Williams is suing the doctor who performed her tubal ligation because she got pregnant with a child with sickle cell anemia after a procedure that should have prevented such a thing from occurring.
Williams’ decision to sue her doctor is drawing criticism from folks who are concerned about what message it might send to her daughter, now 4-year-old Kennadi. People also criticize the message it could be sending to the medical community.
No matter what side of the sterilization debate you are on, it’s important to look at the facts of this case. 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.
Williams’ lawsuit alleges that her 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 “tied”. Unfortunately, Williams says the doctor tied the wrong tube!
Six months later, she got pregnant with daugher Kennadi, who was indeed born with sickle cell anemia and will face a life of health complications, from possible strokes to pain and infections.
“I love Kennadi with all my heart, and that’s the honest-to-God truth,” said Williams. “But it’s been a life change for everybody — my whole family.”
Though tubal ligation is considered a “permanent method of birth control,” as many as 37 per 1,000 women become pregnant within 10 years after the procedure, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Williams and her lawyer believe that her whole story more than justifies this wrongful pregnancy suit and an appellate court ruled February 26, 2014, that the case could move forward.
It’ll be interesting to see the outcome of Williams’ case, especially since it is the first of its kind in Illinois. Her doctor maintains that he “complied with the standard of care” and Williams maintains that he botched the procedure.
What are your thoughts? Does Williams have the right to sue? Is it sending a bad message to her daughter? Or, is it just her standing up for herself and her belief that when she goes into a medical professional’s office she has the right to expect that the doctor will do his job correctly?
Sign Up for Rewards for Mom's Newsletter
Love this? Join our newsletter and get articles like this and more sent directly to your inbox… Convenient, huh? Sign up below: