Ohio Woman Sues Clinic over Failed Abortion

Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that a woman in northeast Ohio is suing an abortion clinic after discovering she was still pregnant after the procedure, later giving birth to a healthy baby daughter. She is alleging negligence on the part of the doctors and the clinic.

The 22-year-old woman, Ariel Knight, made an appointment with the Akron Women’s Medical Group when she learned she was pregnant because she feared her life was in danger. She had a pre-existing medical condition called uterine didelphys, which is a rare condition affecting the female uterus and can cause repeated miscarriages or preterm labor. In the suit, Knight argues that, because her health was compromised, and because she was solely responsible for the care of her preschool-aged son, carrying the child to full-term would put her and her son’s well-being in jeopardy.

Knight was diagnosed with uterine didelphys while she was pregnant with her son. The condition is genetic, causing the uterus to be split in two while developing. She carried her son in her left uterus, which was healthy enough to carry her son to almost full term. In her second pregnancy, however, the fetus was located in the right uterus, which was not as healthy, unstable, and put her and her unborn child’s lives at risk.

About a week after the procedure, Knight learned that she was still pregnant, and was referred to a second abortion clinic. However, Knight stated that this clinic was unwilling to perform the procedure, not wanting to be involved in the risky procedure. She made a second appointment at Akron Women’s Medical Group but did not follow through.

Knight alleges that she spent the rest of her pregnancy in a state of constant fear and anxiety, worried what would happen to her unborn child, and to herself and her son, if any complications from her condition arose. Fortunately, nine months later, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who she calls her miracle baby.

Knight is still unsure why the abortion failed and why the doctor believed the procedure was complete. During the course of her pregnancy Knight was hospitalized four times, each lasting three to five days, and had to visit a special high-risk pregnancy physician twice a week.

Knight hopes the lawsuit, which was filed against the clinic and two doctors, will lead to better treatment of women in these types of clinics. Her description of the Akron Women’s Medical Group is horrifying; she even went as far as to compare it to a slaughterhouse. She said there were dozens of women in the clinic at the time of her procedure, some even forced to stand. The procedural room itself was cramped, and she was told to position her lower body on a table above a trash bag. When the procedure was finished she was handed her things and shown the door.

She is seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress and pain and suffering. Her lawsuit alleges the clinic deviated from the standard of care, and Knight hopes to be a catalyst for change, at least for other women like her in northeast Ohio who wish, for personal and unique reasons, to undergo this procedure.

Although abortions are legal in the United States, bureaucratic limitations continue to render many clinics across the country unsafe. Just a year ago, in August 2012, a woman entered one of these clinics on Chicago’s South Side to undergo an abortion. Following the procedure, she began bleeding uncontrollably. For reasons that are not yet clear, staff waited an astounding five and a half hours to bring her to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Trauma teams at Northwestern discovered a severed uterine artery that was causing extensive internal bleeding. There was an estimated 1.5 liters of blood inside her abdomen, which is about 30% of the body’s total blood volume. The woman died more than twelve hours after the initial procedure. Her autopsy indicated that she would have survived if she had received immediate medical care. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the clinic which is still awaiting trial.

Medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm affirm that no procedure is completely safe, however, if doctors in any way deviate from adequate standards of care, the injured patient may be eligible for significant compensation. Malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits help expose negligent doctors and clinics, and can ignite change so no additional patients are harmed.