An Oakland County, Michigan, woman is suing her doctor for wrongful pregnancy after he allegedly told her there was no chance she could become pregnant.
In 2008, Lori Cichewicz asked her doctor to perform a permanent birth control procedure, according to WJBK. She was reportedly told that her fallopian tubes were blocked and that it would be impossible for her to become pregnant.
As a result, Cichewicz stopped using birth control, and three years later she became pregnant with a baby that turned out to have Down syndrome.
She gave birth to the baby and has now filed a "wrongful conception" lawsuit against her doctor, which amounts to a negligence case. The damages she seeks are for the emotional distress the unplanned pregnancy caused her.
"This is really very close to a medical malpractice case," WJBK legal analyst Charlie Langton said. "That's really essentially what it is."
Langton said the court has already ruled that any damages will be limited to distress caused by conception.
"The stress associated with thinking about having to be pregnant or being pregnant when she didn't want to be pregnant are the only damages," he said. "It's not the fact that she is going to get money for having to raise a Down syndrome child – the court already said no."
The trial is expected to begin in the summer of 2016, assuming the defendant does not settle beforehand.
A wrongful pregnancy case is distinct from a wrongful birth case in that the latter charges a doctor with failing to properly diagnose a birth defect, resulting in the birth of a defective child that could have otherwise been aborted, according to The Free Dictionary's legal dictionary.
Cichewicz, who is now 50 years old, is not suing for wrongful birth, as it has not been reported that the doctor failed to alert her about her baby's condition.