A young mother in Ohio is suing an abortion clinic because it failed to end her pregnancy.
The Daily Mail reports that Ariel Knights, 22, is suing the Akron Women’s Medical Group after having undergone what she thought was an abortion in March of 2012. A week after the procedure, however, another doctor told her that she was still pregnant, and she went on to deliver a healthy six-pound baby girl in September.
Knights said she had decided to end her pregnancy when doctors informed her that carrying her baby to term would be dangerous because the baby was growing in a weak uterus caused by uterus didelphys, a genetic condition that results in a double uterus with two separate cervices. Though she reportedly agonized over the decision to abort the baby, she ultimately decided that, with a preschooler and fiancée to consider, she would schedule the procedure with the Akron group.
In an interview with the Beacon Journal, Knights described walking through the clinic doors as she joined a sea of women filling the dozens of chairs in the waiting room.
“Every seat was full. People were standing,” Knights said. “It was pretty much like a slaughterhouse; it was like OK, next, next.”
When she was called, Knights said she walked into a cramped room and climbed onto a table, positioning her lower body above a trash bag. When the doctor signaled the end of the procedure, Knights said that she was still woozy from the sedation but was handed her belongings and shown the door.
“It was a decision I made because my life was in danger,” Knights said. “I was put in jeopardy. And I have a son that I am supposed to be taking care of.”
Knights, who works as a dental lab technician, stated that she learned of her uterine condition while pregnant with her son, whom she was able to carry to near full term without complications because he was in the stronger of the two uteri. However, early exams of her second pregnancy suggested that the baby was in the weak uterus, a situation that her doctors said placed her life at risk.
Knights said that she is unaware of what transpired during the “abortion” procedure at the Akron Women’s Medical Group. She stated she is unsure why the abortion clinic doctor believed the procedure was complete and what, if anything, was removed from her body.
Several days after the procedure, Knights reported she was ill and in pain, then ultimately went to the emergency room where she was examined by an obstetric triage doctor. Following an internal ultrasound, Knights stated that the surprised doctor announced, “Oh, my goodness, honey, you’re still pregnant.”
Knights said she contacted the Akron clinic and was offered the opportunity to visit their Cleveland office, which she declined. She decided instead to contact another abortion clinic but was told it could not treat her for “somebody else’s mistake.”
At that point, Knights said that she and her fiancée decided to go ahead with the pregnancy, though it involved multiple trips to the ER, four hospital admissions, and biweekly visits to a high-risk pregnancy doctor.
Knights gave birth to her daughter via C-section. Although the baby was in neonatal intensive care for respiratory difficulties, she is now healthy. Knights said she considers her daughter to be her “miracle baby.” She reflected on the irony of the failed abortion.
“That’s a sore subject to think about,” she admitted. “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.”
Nevertheless, Knights maintained she is pro-choice because of her medical condition and hopes her lawsuit will prompt better treatment for other women who seek abortions.
Her lawsuit, filed March 4th, states that she is seeking unspecified damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Jim Gutbrod, Knights’ attorney, said the lawsuit is a malpractice claim that alleges the clinic and the doctor deviated from acceptable standard of care. In addition, Gutbrod, who is against abortion, said he hopes the lawsuit will serve as an instrument for change.
“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,” Gutbrod said. “The way they do things is horrendous.”