An Ohio woman who feared carrying her baby full-term would endanger her life is suing an abortion clinic after she went there to terminate her pregnancy -- only to find out a week later that the procedure hadn't worked.
Ariel Knights, 22, of Cuyahoga Falls, has a rare medical condition called uterine didelphys, which means she has a double uterus. She was repeatedly told by a doctor when she got pregnant last year that her life could be threatened due to the fact that the fetus was in the more unstable of her two uteruses, her attorney, James Gutbrod, said from his Akron office.
Going to The Akron Women's Medical Group for an abortion last March was a difficult decision for Knights, but she felt she had to do it to save her life, Gutbrod said. Immediately afterward, she sensed something was wrong.
"She was having some pain," Gutbrod said. "She was sick, bleeding and miserable."
Knights, who is engaged and has a three-year-old son who she successfully carried in her other uterus, according to The Akron Business Journal, went to an Akron hospital six days after she had gone in for her abortion. At the emergency room, an obstetric triage doctor performed an internal ultrasound on her, reported The Business Journal.
“And the look on [the doctor’s] face when he found out, he was like, ‘Oh my goodness, honey, you’re still pregnant,’ ” Knights told The Business Journal. “My fiance and I, we both were kind of in shock.”
Knights was given the name of a different abortion clinic to go to at that point, her attorney said. But the new abortion clinic -- this one located in Cleveland -- was not interested in "dealing with somebody else's mistake," and refused to perform the abortion, Gutbrod said. Not wanting to go back to the Akron clinic that she believes failed in the first place, she made the potentially life-threatening decision to carry her baby to term.
Knights' baby daughter was born by C-section on Sept. 20, 2012. She told The Business Journal the 6-pound girl is her "miracle baby."
Her attorney said they are monitoring the baby's health.
"The baby was in the neonatal intensive care unit for five days. As far as we know, the baby is healthy. There have been a couple of issues. At one point she would only turn her head to the left. And then there was some leg and eye twitching. At this point, we don't know whether those are just normal pediatric events or if they have any more significance," Gutbrod said.
The lawsuit against the medical group alleges doctors were negligent and asks the clinic to cover the medical expenses Knights had to pay throughout her high-risk pregnancy, as well as her lost income. It also makes a claim for the emotional anguish she experienced during the experience. Her lawyer wouldn't comment on the amount they are seeking.
It's unclear what went wrong with the abortion. Knight's attorney said he did not know if the problems were related to her medical condition. D. Cheryl Atwell, who represents the medical group, wouldn't comment on the lawsuit.
"Everything being alleged by Ariel Knights is protected under the HIPAA [Health Insurances Portability and Accountability Act] statute regarding protected medical information," she said.
Being pregnant with her daughter was "constant stress," Knights said.
“I can’t explain how I felt. It was just a sense of being overwhelmed, wondering what happened to the baby, wondering what’s happening to me," Knights told The Business Journal. "It was just constant stress."