Signs at the Whitehorse General Hospital. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Woman sues Yukon doctor after pregnancies following fallopian tube removal surgery

B.C. woman is suing hospital corporation’s chief of medical staff for negligence, breach of contract

A British Columbia woman is suing the Yukon Hospital Corporation’s chief of medical staff after he allegedly performed a surgery to remove her fallopian tubes but she was able to get pregnant — twice — following the procedure.

In a statement of claim filed to the Yukon Supreme Court Dec. 21, Jeannena Gallinger alleges that Dr. Wayne MacNicol did not, in fact, remove her fallopian tubes, and that his conduct in performing the surgery “fell below a reasonable standard of care.”

The lawsuit also names a “John Doe” defendant, who “represents one or more physicians, residents, nurses or other medical personnel, hospital, corporations or unincorporated bodies” involved in Gallinger’s care, who failed to properly follow up with Gallinger after asked how her first pregnancy could have occured.

The allegations have not been tested in court. Yukon Hospital Corporation (YHC) spokesperson James Low said he was not in a position to comment as YHC was not aware of any legal actions. MacNicol was not immediately available for comment.

According to the statement of claim, MacNicol performed the surgery to remove Gallinger’s fallopian tubes around March 7, 2014, but she became pregnant and gave birth about two and a half years later.

When Gallinger asked John Doe how the pregnancy could have happened, the lawsuit alleges, she was told it was a “highly improbable event” but was not told that “the surgery might not have been adequately performed, that she required tests to determine if the surgery was adequately performed, that she could become pregnant again and that she needed to use birth control.”

Gallinger became pregnant again, the lawsuit says, and is expected to give birth in March 2018.

MacNicol and John Doe provided medical care to Gallinger “pursuant to oral contracts,” the lawsuit says, which “contained an implied term that the defendants would exercise all reasonable care, skill, diligence and competence.” The lawsuit alleges that MacNicol was negligent and breached his contract by “failing to keep up to date with knowledge in his field of practice,” “failing to employ reasonable techniques during the surgery” and “failing to conduct tests to ensure the Surgery was properly performed.”

The lawsuit also accuses John Doe of being negligent and breaching contract by telling Gallinger her first pregnancy was “a one in a million occurrence, thereby causing the plaintiff to believe that another pregnancy would not occur and that further investigations and birth control were unnecessary” and by “failing to order tests to determine whether the surgery was performed correctly.”

Gallinger has suffered, and will continue to suffer, loss and damage including wage loss, loss of earning capacity and the costs of raising the children “by reason of the defendants’ negligence and her unwanted pregnancies,” the lawsuit says. She’s seeking to be awarded general damages, “special damages and amounts owed to the British Columbia government for medical costs paid and that will be paid in the future” and legal costs.

A case management conference is scheduled for Jan. 30, 2018.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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