An Ohio woman is suing an abortion clinic for not successfully performing an abortion on her, claiming that she pursued the abortion after her doctor told her that her life was being endangered by the pregnancy and then realized she was still pregnant a week after the procedure and subsequently gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The clinic is denying that the doctors were negligent.
Fox News reports, “The Akron Women’s Medical Group and two doctors acknowledge [Ariel] Knights, of Cuyahoga Falls, sought an abortion March 3, 2012. However, they deny any negligence and seek to have the case dismissed, citing a long list of possible defenses.”
One week after the procedure, Knights learned that she was still pregnant, and several months later, Knights gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
But the clinic's doctors are denying that they were negligent, despite the failed procedure.
“I believe my client absolutely met the standard of care and that this case has no basis to be in litigation,” said attorney D. Cheryl Atwell, who represents the medical group and the doctors.
The lawyers are still in the process of exchanging medical records, prohibiting Atwell from commenting further.
Knights gave birth to her baby on September 20, and on March 4 of this year, Knights, 22, filed a malpractice lawsuit. Knights contends she pursued the abortion because she has a medical condition called uterine didelphys, which means she has a double uterus with individual cervices. Her doctor told her that her pregnancy could threaten her life because the fetus was being carried in the unstable uterus.
Knights learned of her condition during the pregnancy of her first child, but she was able to carry that baby to term because he was being carried in the left uterus, which is the stronger one.
Knights told the Akron Beacon Journal that she had made the difficult decision to abort her baby after careful consideration, but ultimately decided she had no choice because she has a son in pre-school who needs her.
“It was a decision I made because my life was in danger,” she said. “I was put in jeopardy. And I have a son that I’m supposed to be taking care of.”
Approximately one week after her procedure, Knights was suffering from severe pain and found herself in the Emergency Room, where an internal ultrasound revealed that she was still pregnant.
“The look on [the doctor’s] face when he found out, he was like, ‘Oh my goodness, honey, you’re still pregnant,’ ” she said. “My fiance and I, we both were kind of in shock.”
Her lawsuit asserts that the defendants were “negligent and deviated from the appropriate standard of care.”
Fox News explains, “The lawsuit also indicates Knights was referred to a second abortion clinic after she found out she still was pregnant, but that clinic was unwilling to become involved in ‘somebody else’s mistake,’ and she refused to return to the original clinic for a second abortion attempt.”
The defendants filing reveals that Knights did in fact make a second appointment with the medical group but did not show up for it.
Knights asserts that she and her fiancé ultimately decided to move forward with the pregnancy, but that she spent the remainder of her pregnancy in fear.
“I can’t explain how I felt," she told the Akron Beacon Journal. "It was just a sense of being overwhelmed, wondering what happened to the baby, wondering what’s happening to me and what did (the clinic) think they did."
For the remainder of her pregnancy, she made multiple trips to the ER, and was admitted into the hospital several times for stays that lasted anywhere from three to five days. She saw a doctor that specializes in high-risk pregnancies.
When she gave birth to her daughter in September, she required a C-section. Though the baby girl was in neonatal intensive care for a period of time with breathing problems, the baby is now healthy.
According to her attorney James Gutbrod, the medical group’s legal response to Knights’ filing was general and he had no comment regarding it.
He did, however, have comment on the state of the clinic.
“From Ariel’s description, you can see how poorly the clinic is run and how different it is from any other medical procedure that’s done in our country,” he said. “The way they do things is horrendous.”
Knights indicates that the abortion clinic was practically “herding” women into the clinic’s waiting room “like cattle.”
“Every seat was full. People were standing,” Knights told the Beacon Journal. “It was pretty much like a slaughterhouse; it was like OK, next, next.”
She explains that when it was her turn for the procedure, she was placed into a cramped room, and positioned on a table with her lower body over a trash bag. After the procedure, she was handed her belongings and sent out of the clinic, even though she was still woozy from her sedation.
“(The doctor) said, ‘All right, everything’s good and clear, everything went well,’” she recalled, thinking that was it.
Knights wants to know how her abortion doctor could have possibly considered the abortion complete, and what was removed from her body during the procedure. Her suit seeks at least $25,000 for her pain and suffering.
The lawsuit is now making its way through Summit County Common Pleas Court. The clinic is challenging the lawsuit for a number of reasons, including that some of the claims are barred by the statute of limitations.
Still, Knights declares that she considers her daughter to be her “miracle” baby and does not wish to consider what would have happened had the abortion been successful.
“That’s a sore subject to think about,” she said as she became visibly emotional. “I mean, it’s just hard, thinking she’s here and thinking, if they would have done their job.… It’s just something I don’t like to think about.”
Knights and her fiancé do not regret having their baby girl.