Unconsented Sterilization, Tubal Ligation
Posted on Nov 02, 2009
Question: What is tubal ligation on a female patient?
Answer: The answer is no, it is not. A tubal ligation is a sterilization operative procedure that renders the patient unable to conceive children. It is a procedure that is not without risks both in the operation and after. One risk is the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
“Although tubal ligation is almost 100 percent effective, a small percentage of women will become pregnant as much as ten years later and the risk of tubal pregnancy is significantly higher in women who have undergone tubal ligation.”
How do you know if you’ve consented or not consented to having a tubal ligation?
Normally when you arrive at the hospital you sign a surgical consent form. Because this is an elective surgery consent is almost always necessary. I won’t say 100% but 99.99% it is elective requiring consent.
You may wonder why I’m discussing tubal ligations and a patient’s consent. I’ve come across at least two cases in the recent past where doctors have performed these surgeries under questionable circumstances.
... A mistake is what the doctor is reported to have called what she did. ... to why a woman can be secretly sterilized and the offender gets a slap on the wrist. ... 101k
The headline reads, “Doctor reprimanded for secret sterilization” by Sandy Maple.
"Last year, when a woman in Berryville, Arkansas went into the hospital to deliver her baby by Cesarean section, she did not request or authorize her doctor to also perform a tubal ligation. But that minor detail didn't stop Dr. Shirolyn Ruth Moffett from doing just that. Dr. Moffett claims that she surgically ensured that this woman would never have another child because she feared that the patient's uterus would burst if she ever got pregnant again.
Not only did Dr. Moffett perform this procedure without permission, she failed to inform the woman after the fact and made no notation of what she had done on her medical chart. "I know now that was a mistake," she told the Arkansas State Medical Board. "I had not made this kind of error my whole medical career. I was appalled.""
Then recently there was another instance of questionable circumstances in Hardin County, Iowa.
“The Board alleges that Respondent failed to conform to the minimal standard of acceptable and prevailing practice of medicine in Iowa when he performed a tubal ligation on a female patient without proper consent in Iowa Falls, Iowa, in 2008. The information reviewed by the Board indicates that the patient affirmatively told Respondent that she did not want a tubal ligation, she did not sign a consent form for a tubal ligation and Respondent performed the procedure without proper patient consent.”
What does all of this mean? It means if you have any information about this practice I want to talk with you. Whether you’re a woman who has had it happen to you or the husband of a woman who has been sterilized without consent, I want to talk with you.
If you’re a nurse or other operating room person who has knowledge of unconsented surgical procedures I want to talk with you as well. And you want to talk with me. I know there are many nurses who suspect what is going on but are constrained by the system and don’t feel like you can come forward. But you can and should.