By Douglas J. Manning, Partner, Certified Specialist in Family Law
A recent decision from Spain regarding medical malpractice turned out to have unanticipated family law consequences! A gynecologist was ordered to financially assist a 24 year old patient with raising her son.
A Spanish court in Majorca made the decision after the woman sued because her doctor had said that he had completed her abortion, when, apparently, he hadn’t. Not only had the doctor botched the abortion, but he also failed to detect that the woman was still pregnant in her follow up appointments.
In 2010 a young woman went to the doctor’s clinic to have an abortion when she was 7 weeks pregnant. Two weeks later she returned for a scan, and the doctor assured her she was no longer pregnant. Several months later, she returned to the clinic suspecting that she was still pregnant, and it turned out the allegedly aborted fetus had been growing in utero. At this point the woman was 22 weeks pregnant and could not abort as it is against the law in Spain after 14 weeks.
The clinic offered to reimburse her the $500 the woman had paid for the procedure and referred her to a Madrid clinic that might perform a late-term abortion. But it was too late. She had no choice but to give birth which she did about 4 months later.
The court ordered the gynecologist and his clinic to pay the woman $189,000 for emotional suffering. The doctor was also ordered to pay $1,300 per month in child support until the child is 26 years of age.
There is no word on whether the woman is going after the father of the child for child support as well.