Health

Couple Accuse Doctor Of Implanting Wrong Embryos, Then Aborting Them

| by Nik Bonopartis
Human Embryos In A Petri Dish.Human Embryos In A Petri Dish.

A husband and wife from California are suing a fertility doctor for allegedly implanting the wife with a stranger's embryos, then removing them two days later.

David and Melissa Pineda of Torrance, California, accused Dr. Rifaat Salem of lying to them about the procedure to cover up his mistakes, KTLA 5 reported. Now they've filed a lawsuit against the physician for malpractice.

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After the initial in vitro fertilization procedure on Feb. 7,  2013, Salem called Melissa back to his office on a Sunday and told her he was administering an injection that would stop bleeding associated with implanting the embryos, but Melissa said she found out later the doctor had given her methotrexate, a chemical abortion drug. The doctor also performed a dilation and curettage procedure, the Pinedas allege.

Neil Howard, an attorney for the Pinedas, said Salem broke the law by not telling Melissa he was performing abortion procedures.

"There's no question in my mind that this was a viable healthy pregnancy that he wanted to make sure did not continue," Howard told KTLA 5. "That's why he did two things: a chemical abortion and a surgical abortion. He wanted to be 1 billion percent sure this baby did not go to full term."

While the doctor claimed he was performing routine check-ups following embryo implantation, one of his nurses told Melissa that she went to check on her remaining embryos a day earlier, and realized all 14 eggs were still in the petri dish instead of the 11 that should have been remaining. The Pinedas believe that's because Salem accidentally used a stranger's embryos, which is why they say he was so eager to make sure there was no trace of his mistake, according to KTLA 5.

The Pinedas, who said they wanted a fourth child, said they chose to go back to Salem after the successful IVF of their third child, a girl. David said he and his wife think about the child they would have had if the doctor hadn't allegedly performed the procedures to terminate the pregnancy.

"What if we did have a viable baby that was going to be born? We should have a little kid running around now and we don't because of what he did," David said. "That's the hard part and what will never be replaced — the moments and the happiness with this child that we wanted and it's not there now."

Source: KTLA 5 / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons