Here is the court document, which is pretty short and to the point: a woman went into a facility to have an adjustment made to her IUD, and the nurse practitioner “accidentally” pulled out the IUD.
As that happened, Defendant Olona stated “Uh oh, I accidentally pulled out your IUD. I gently tugged and out it came.” She then explained, “I cut the string than went back and gently pulled and out it came. It must have not been in properly.” Olona then stated, “having the IUD come out was a good thing.” She asked Ms. Van Patten if she wanted to hear her “take” on the situation. Without receiving a response, Defendant Olona stated, “I personally do not like IUDs. I feel they are a type of abortion. I don’t know how you feel about abortion, but I am against them. What the IUD does is take the fertilized egg and pushes it out of the uterus.” Defendant Olona stated, “Everyone in the office always laughs and tells me I pull these out on purpose because I am against them, but it’s not true, they accidentally come out when I tug.”
As much as I agree with the NP’s beliefs — that IUDs are abortifacient and that Mirena (the IUD in question, which has a hormone to prevent ovulation) may not always prevent ovulation, so may also be abortifacient — I cannot agree with what she did.
Assuming that what is in the court document is true, if this NP always “accidentally” pulls out IUDs when she tugs, then she needs at the minimum better training in how to properly place or maintain them. If she is against IUDs, she needs to be in another branch of the profession so she won’t have to deal with them, or have other measures in place to assure that she won’t be called on to violate her conscience by properly maintaining an abortive device. If she thought the woman was ignorant of the possible abortifacient qualities of Mirena, then she can educate her with the IUD intact, and then remove it if the woman wants it. And if the woman doesn’t want it removed, then the NP can remove herself from the room and get someone else to serve the woman.
Now, onto what I think is even more important, and that is the Civil Battery charge against the NP:
27. Defendant Olona intentionally removed the IUD without Ms. Van Patten’s consent to do so.
28. Defendant Olona’s conduct fell below the standard of care in the medical industry, which requires consent by the patient prior to conducting any procedures.
29. Defendant Olona’s conduct and actions constituted a civil battery upon Ms. Van Patten.
30. The intentional removal of the IUD proximately caused Ms. Van Patten damages and injuries.
31. Defendant Olona’s actions arose out of the negligence in the performance of medical treatment.
32. Defendant Olona’s actions were intentional, malicious, willful, and wanton.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests compensatory damages against Defendant, including loss of consortium for her and her husband, Peter Van Patten, together with all costs and attorneys’ fees.
I would like to see something of this sort brought against every birth attendant who performs “any procedure” without “consent by the patient” — especially ones that cause unnecessary pain, bleeding, or “loss of consortium” (the woman can’t or won’t have sex). If removal of an IUD (which causes a little bleeding and menstrual-like cramps; and led this couple to abstain from sex for fear of pregnancy) without a woman’s consent constitutes battery worthy of a lawsuit that will compensate for the pain and loss of sex, how much more justified is a lawsuit because a woman’s vagina is cut against her will (episiotomy), or she is coerced or threatened into or given a C-section against her will? I’ve never had any of these — IUD removal, episiotomy, or a C-section — but I daresay the pain and loss of consortium caused by intentional cutting into a woman’s vagina or abdomen is a great deal more than that which is caused by the unwanted removal of an IUD.
This is not to minimize what this woman went through. Just to say that the comparatively small amount of pain and bleeding and lack of sex (either two weeks until the DepoProvera shot became effective, or 4 weeks until she got another IUD implanted — the court document says both, but only one can be true) is nothing compared to the amount of pain and loss of sex caused by an unnecessary episiotomy or C-section. When 73% of women whose vaginas were cut during birth were not given a choice about it (Listening to Mothers Survey – II, p. 19), then something needs to change. If enough lawsuits are filed on behalf of these women and their husbands and their babies due to the unnecessary and possibly “intentional, malicious, willful and wanton” use and overuse of unwanted interventions, then birth as we know it may change.