Woman Sues Hospital Saying Mistake Led to Abortion

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A woman has filed a lawsuit against Iowa Methodist Medical Center claiming a medical mistake led her to have an abortion.

Kristy Oswald claims in the lawsuit, filed this week in Polk County District Court, that hospital employees failed to tell her a test showed she was pregnant. The test was done shortly before she had a heart procedure done in 2006 to treat abnormal heart rhythms.

Oswald's attorney, Guy Cook, said the procedure and the anesthesia raised serious risks to Oswald's fetus.

Oswald, 47, a longtime nurse at the hospital, generally opposes abortion but decided to end the pregnancy because of the likelihood the fetus had been damaged, Cook said.

"It's a nightmarish, sad, sad situation," Cook said.

Oswald, who was about five weeks pregnant at the time, learned of the error in the recovery room, the lawsuit states.

Hospital officials released a statement on Thursday expressing regret.

"Protecting and improving the well-being of our patients is our single goal and even the suggestion that somewhere, somehow a single safeguard may have failed, is unacceptable to us," the statement read.

"It is our hope to reach an acceptable resolution with the patient and her family as quickly as possible. During this difficult time, the last thing we want to do would be to subject the family to any more pain by prolonging a legal proceeding."

Oswald continues to work as a nurse at the hospital, caring for babies.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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