Woman told to pursue ACC over botched sterilisation

Last updated 11:01 09/05/2012

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A woman who became pregnant after being sterilised has been told to seek ACC rather than trying to sue the surgeon who "tied her tubes".

The woman is one of at least three trying to take legal action for becoming pregnant after having a sterilisation operation.

She was sterilised in 2004 but later became pregnant and developed a mental illness.

The Supreme Court has given a decision today on whether pregnancy can be "personal injury" by medical misadventure for the purposes of the ACC legislation.

The Supreme Court has unanimously decided that if the woman became pregnant because of a negligently performed sterilisation it was a personal injury that ACC should cover.

For the purposes of the legal argument it was assumed that the woman's operation was performed negligently.

The court has also clarified that women who become pregnant from rape have ACC cover for having suffered a personal injury by "accident".

The woman whose surgery failed, whose name is suppressed, wanted compensation but there was a legal dispute about whether it should be sought from ACC or the surgeon.

The woman who took the case did not take any position on who she sought compensation from so the argument was between ACC and the doctor.

The woman's surgeon had been Keith Allenby at Middlemore hospital.

It was thought that if women can seek ACC compensation, it would probably cut out most, if not all, of their claim against the doctors and hospitals.

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- The Dominion Post

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