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Indiana woman sues doctor for cost of raising her daughter.
April 4, 2002 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Indiana woman sues doctor for cost of raising her daughter. She says the doctor botched the operation to sterilize her, so he should pay up. A lower court has already ruled for her, and it is now in front of the Indiana Supreme Court. I did not know this, but California, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin already have given people the right to costs of child rearing in these circumstances. The first this that comes to my mind is: do you think a child put in this situation would feel unwanted?
posted by internal (21 comments total)

 
Unwanted? Without the kid, the lady's got no case at all. I wish I had that kind of job security.
posted by luser at 1:02 PM on April 4, 2002


Auburn lawyer John Grimm said: "All these things she was trying to avoid in life she's had to endure now. It's just not right."

Gee, thanks, Mom...
posted by adampsyche at 1:12 PM on April 4, 2002


More on "wrongful birth" / "wrongful life" here.

To me this is one of those areas where the law of negligence has to give way to greater moral considerations. There's nothing in the law of medical malpractice that would prevent such suits from going forward (doctor failed to meet standard of care + damage = malpractice). But aren't some things just more important than strict adherence to the legal doctrine of negligence?
posted by pardonyou? at 1:13 PM on April 4, 2002


Have they even got any evidence that the sterilization wasn't done properly? Some sterilizations fail, even when everything's done right. The rate is quite tiny, but it still happens.

Didn't she sign an informed consent before the procedure, listing the failure rate? Sheesh.
posted by beth at 1:19 PM on April 4, 2002


"I don't think there's much controversy that if the doctor breached the standard of care, she's entitled to the birthing expenses and money for going through labor," Murphy said. "This case is about once she's compensated for that, has she sustained harm in having a healthy baby that she has now chosen to raise? And, quite frankly, I don't think that's a harm."

Murphy said he does not intend to argue before the Supreme Court that Seslar should have gotten an abortion or put her daughter up for adoption.


I would. If she didn't want to "incur the expense" of raising the child, she could have given her up for adoption. I'm not saying that's a happy decision, but really, should the doctor be liable for her choice to keep the child? That's her decision, not his.
posted by me3dia at 1:21 PM on April 4, 2002


hmmm....there are a lot of childless couples out there who would gladly take on the costs and burdens of raising that child....but not a lot of profit in that, I guess.
posted by bunnyfire at 1:23 PM on April 4, 2002


Admittedly, at first I was thinking she must be out of her mind. Upon further thought, I see the point. refrain from the "think of the children" argument for a second and review the economics of it, or better yet "think of the OTHER children". She had the tubal whatever and thought she didn't have to worry about getting pregnant anymore. But low and behold, she does. She was trying to make a perfectly good and responsible (to her other 4 children) decision of not having anymore. As to the kid feeling unwanted, she's young so there's plenty of time to save for those Psychology bills.

The only grey area for me is that I've heard of those operations not working before so I wouldn't trust it as foolproof. It seems to be pushed that way though.
posted by srw12 at 1:27 PM on April 4, 2002


When she realized she was pregnant and didn't want to be, she was faced with the options any woman facing an unwanted pregnancy faces. She could have an abortion. She could go through the pregnancy and adopt out the infant. Or, she could go through the pregnancy and raise the child.

If she NEVER wanted to deal with any of these options; she should never have had sex. Granted, going through the procedure should have protected her. However, she was probably informed that there was a slim risk that it could fail and decided to play the odds.

I can't believe the level some people will stoop to get a hand out.
posted by onhazier at 1:37 PM on April 4, 2002


Is it just me, or are the rest of you getting the impression lawsuits are taking over from buying lottery tickets as a way to get rich quick?

I can see her potentially suing for medical costs, but that's it. If she wins, hopefully no other woman in Indiana will ever want to be sterilized. I know if I were a doctor who potential faced those kinds of costs from agreeing to the procedure, I wouldn't do it anymore.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:46 PM on April 4, 2002


Bunnyfire: Absolutly correct!
posted by Hugh2d2 at 1:56 PM on April 4, 2002


I can see her potentially suing for medical costs, but that's it.

While no method is totally secure, I have personally counseled women on tubal ligation though I don't perform them. I always make women away that depending on the literature you site the failure rate is between 3:100 and 1:2500. Good odds relatively speaking but not a sure thing. Somebody gets to lose and it's not malpractice because there are failures.

I really hope that this woman gets the smackdown and walks away with huge legal fees and egg on her face. Unfortunately, the physician is already screwed since getting sued will cost him north of $20k regardless of outcome and tons of heartache.
posted by shagoth at 2:05 PM on April 4, 2002


I could see sueing for lost wages due to the pregnancy, but not for the cost of raising the child.

Unless the doctor misinformed her and claimed that there was no possible chance of failure....
posted by Darke at 2:29 PM on April 4, 2002


the failure rate is between 3:100 and 1:2500

is that the failure rate if the procedure is done correctly, or does it include botched jobs by the surgeons?
posted by boltman at 2:54 PM on April 4, 2002


What about the issue of actually figuring out the cost of raising a child? Is it just food and clothing? New clothes from expensive clothing stores or used from the Salvation Army? What about school, bicycles, toys, cars etc. I wonder how much it really costs to raise a kid these days.
posted by jaden at 3:02 PM on April 4, 2002


So basically, the doctor would have been better off botching the operation such that it ended up with her being dead, than to have her escape the operating table alive and breeding.

Go figure.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:57 PM on April 4, 2002


Oh, and shagoth, you got any good web references for the tubal ligation risks &c? I've a friend going under the knife in .... five days. I'd like her to be informed more on the post-operation risks of pregnancy. I think she thinks this is a 100% guarantee, when it isn't.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:59 PM on April 4, 2002


Hey Jaden, wanna find out?

*forty minutes later*
wait wait wait
HOLD ON
let's try the other end this time
that's it
I had the instructions upside down
posted by Settle at 7:05 PM on April 4, 2002


five fresh fish: If you friend believes it's 100% than the doc has failed to explain things or your friend isn't listening. It's pretty good, but the pill used correctly is a whole lot better. Used correctly the pill fails 1 in every 10,000 woman years. I'm short on links more because I'm being lazy than anything else. Most of the data that I have is old xeroxed copies and the like from courses.
posted by shagoth at 9:09 PM on April 4, 2002


hmmm....there are a lot of childless couples out there who would gladly take on the costs and burdens of raising that child....but not a lot of profit in that, I guess.

sure there is! don't you watch Law & Order? $50,000 per child. very good market these days.
posted by Nyx at 11:32 PM on April 4, 2002


The first this that comes to my mind is: do you think a child put in this situation would feel unwanted?


Well, the kid is unwanted. Duh.

btw, who cares, they'll get over it.
posted by delmoi at 4:34 AM on April 5, 2002


k, thnks Shag. I'll go do a webcrawl.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:19 AM on April 5, 2002


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