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Woman sterilized in error after delivery of third child – $490,000 Settlement

Plaintiff delivered her third child by cesarean section, and following the delivery, her obstetrician tied her tubes without her knowledge or consent. Two days later while the plaintiff was still in the hospital, the same obstetrician ordered Depo-Provera, a shot for birth control, at plaintiff’s request.

The defendant admitted that such birth control was not necessary following the sterilization procedure. During a routine prenatal visit, the plaintiff had stated that she did not want her tubes tied following her C-section and that decision was recorded in the defendant’s records. There was no written consent form for the sterilization procedure in the obstetrician or hospital records.

Defendant contended that the circulating nurse approached him before the delivery and said that the plaintiff had informed her that she desired to have her tubes tied, but there was no consent form for the procedure. The nurse had no recollection of that conversation but was added as a defendant along with the hospital.

The evidence showed that the nurse had obtained consent from the patient only for the cesarean, pulled the sutures for the tubal ligation, and took the removed portions of the fallopian tubes to the lab, all without any independent recollection of the events. The case was settled against the nurse a few months after a mediation conducted by John H. OBrion of The McCammon Group.

Defendant had two expert OB/GYNs who would have testified that the physician acted reasonably based in part on the conversation with the nurse.

Plaintiff filed a motion to exclude the hearsay testimony by the defendant obstetrician as to what the nurse reported the plaintiff had said.

That motion and several others were still pending with the court with a hearing scheduled for the morning of trial. Defendant also had a DME reproductive endocrinologist examine the plaintiff. She and another defense expert would have testified that plaintiff could have more children by undergoing reversal of the tubal ligation as an outpatient procedure for approximately $7,000 or in vitro fertilization treatment for approximately $10,000 per round of treatment. The plaintiff was 32 years old and single. The case settled against the obstetrician five days before trial.


Type of action: Medical malpractice
Type of action: Sterilization
Name of case: Confidential
Special damages: $603 for counseling
Verdict or Settlement: Settlement
Amount: $490,000
Date: July 22, 2010
Experts: Edward G. Koch MD, Richard L. Stokes MD, Susan Katz RN
Plaintiff’s attorney: Andrea J. Geiger, Richmond

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