In a pioneering decision, a judge in Palma de Mallorca has sentenced a doctor and his clinic to pay 420,000 euros in damages to a woman who gave birth to a child after supposedly having a successful abortion.
On April 20, 2010, the plaintiff went to an abortion clinic in the Balearic Islands city to terminate her pregnancy by means of the aspiration procedure. She was around eight weeks pregnant, and was told the operation had been a success. On May 4, the patient returned to the center for a follow-up ultrasound and was again assured the procedure had been successful.
But on August 14, the woman returned because she thought she was pregnant again and wanted another abortion. To her surprise, the ultrasound showed that in fact she was 22 weeks pregnant, meaning the first abortion had not worked. As Spanish law prohibits pregnancy terminations at such a late stage, she had no choice but to keep the child.
The court ruled that the doctor, E.R.K., is guilty of medical negligence and that the error was human, as the equipment was functioning properly. He and the clinic must pay the mother 150,000 euros in moral damages and an additional 270,000 euros to cover the expenses of raising the child until he is 25 years old.
Legal experts said they doubted the decision would be upheld by a higher court, but the plaintiff’s lawyer said her client was ready to take her case all the way to the Supreme Court if need be.