ten years ago, a woman decided that she didn’t want to have any
more children and elected to have a tubal ligation. She went to
a doctor and the procedure was performed. While assembling information
prior to the surgery, the woman told the doctor that she had had
her appendix removed years earlier, and she believed that one
of her fallopian tubes was removed at that time.
doctor checked during the procedure, and found what he believed
to be evidence of the appendectomy. The information was consistent
with what he had been told, so he took care of the other tube.
years later, the woman was pregnant. Evidently the tube that was
thought to have been removed was intact. The doctor was sued.
Australian court found the doctor liable, and has ordered him
to pay for the child’s care until he turns eighteen.
before we get into the observations, here are some links for the
covering the decision
of the medical community to the decision
I had problems with this decision, and I have talked to enough
people about it to tell you that I’ve decided my difficulty was
with the judgment. At the foundation of my thoughts is the concept
that this sounds like it is being treated as a child care/custody
case and not a malpractice suit.
reviewing the material, it is apparent the woman planted thoughts
in the doctor’s mind, ones he should never have accepted without
question. He made the mistake of accepting them as fact without
continuing with proper technique or treatment. Simple summary,
the surface details show negligence in the actions of the doctor.
And that is, regardless of your application of any degrees of
severity to the word, malpractice.
know emotions run strong when it comes to children and babies…
and I don’t want to focus on that part for too long. It was the
part that grabbed my attention initially, but I do believe that
in the end there isn’t that much room for complaining as far as
those involved in the case. The doctor was wrong, and the court
ruled in favor of the woman. There are two other things that came
up in my research though, and I think they present potentially
disturbing long-term impacts.
I e-mailed a friend of mine that is a doctor. His response essentially
said that the doctor should have been more thorough. No excuse
for not. So, despite any claims going back and forth about the
woman having said it was removed, or whether or not he was truly
negligent, it all comes back to responsibility. This is what
he should have done, steps he should have taken, procedures
he should have followed, and he didn’t.
I was speaking with one woman about this, and she said there
are interesting developments becoming issues in Australia. Evidently
this case was big news over there. One example of the developments:
If they are going to be liable in this way, and see their malpractice
rates go crazy as a result, then some doctors aren’t going to
prescribe birth control pills any more. Why? Because of situations
such as when antibiotics can render some of the pills ineffective.
None of the doctors want to be liable for a woman that gets
pregnant while taking both, and a paperwork trail that leads
back to their office.
I was growing up we had this thing called responsibility. I’ve
used the word already in referring to what the doctor needed to
do. But in my experience, if you didn’t want to have a child there
was only one foolproof way to make certain you didn’t. I find
it very interesting how people refuse to blame their own actions
for the conditions they live in. It was taught in physics class…
every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
you, that’s a generalized set of observations spring-boarding
off of this scenario. I’m absolutely not judging this woman for
taking legal action when she attempted to take precautions, they
didn’t work, and there is an obvious error involved on the part
of the doctor. I admit, I am thousands upon thousands of miles
away, reading about this story, so my ability to be steadfast
and certain of everything involved is limited.
I am saying is that nothing is guaranteed in this world, and here
is an example for everyone else to learn from. Take nothing for
granted, and accept responsibility for your actions… or lack thereof.
~ ~ ~
the early days of the In My Backpack web site, I was
trying several different ways to present material.
journal entries were referred to as “A Momentary Lapse…” for
a period of time, which eventually transitioned to “Are you
chewing gum?” for a bit. After a few restarts, modifications,
and relaunches, the Now Playing area took over.
of occasional segments—appearing perhaps ten times a year or
so—was called Random Thoughts, which I described as…
long for “A Momentary Lapse…”… Not enough for a full article…
Need to get them off my “ideas to work on” list…
essay was originally created and presented as a Random Thoughts
entry. I’m bringing it back as a From the Backpack offering
because I’m curious about the content and the effort. But, worth
noting, it may still seem a bit incomplete, needing more development,
and may or may not have gone through some additional edits and
re-writes beyond my usual finds when searching the archives.