Saturday, September 05, 2009

“I was sterilized without consent!”

Surrogate mother Wioletta Wozna says she was sterilized without her consent while undergoing a Caesarean section and are pressing charges against the hospital near Poznan, western Poland.

The surrogate mother, who attracted widespread media interest during her battle to keep the child she gave birth to, claims that she was sterilized in hospital without her knowledge or consent.

Wozna alleges that she found out that she will no longer be able to bear children when she returned home and read over the documents from the hospital. Wioletta and her lawyer have pressed criminal charges against the hospital.

“In the medical documents that my client received, there is nothing to confirm [Wioletta’s] consent for such treatment,” claims her lawyer, Malgorzata Heller-Kaczmarska.

The hospital refutes the charges but does confirm that the sterilization procedure took place. “The uterus was damaged and could rupture with another pregnancy,” said Elzbieta Nosek, responsible for the gynecological department at the Szamotuly hospital in western Poland.

“We could not ask the patient for her consent because she was anesthetized. It would be necessary to wait for the drugs to wear off and then carry out a second operation,” added Nosek.

The surgeon, Barbara Kaczmarek, claims that it was an extremely difficult birth. “It cost a lot in terms of health. I was happy that a mother of eight survived whole and healthy,” states Kaczmarek, who told the daily Gazeta Wyborcza that the operating team informed Wozna of the sterilization after the fact.

Ewa Kopacz, Minister of Health, is awaiting an investigation by the District Attourney’s office, but stated Friday morning that doctors are required to follow a strict code of ethics and also work according to the law. A situation where a doctor is required to go beyond a patient’s consent is only acceptable if the patient’s life is in danger – and only then, such a decision can be made following consultation with a second doctor.

“We decide about our own freedoms. No one has the right to violate one’s freedoms and no one can replace God in this situation,” stated Kopacz.

Wioletta Wozna has become a media sensation in Poland, having signed a contract to carry a child to term for a couple unable to bear children. She then changed her mind and decided to keep the baby. A legal battle has ensued.