The First District Appellate Court issued a recent decision addressing whether a pregnant woman, who is compelled to abort her fetus because of a possible injury to the fetus caused by a doctor’s negligence, can sue the doctor for the injury and death of her unborn child even though she elected to have the abortion.
The First District answered in the affirmative and ruled that the woman’s claims against the doctor for the wrongful death of the unborn fetus could proceed under Illinois’ Wrongful Death Act.
In Thomas v. Khoury, Monique Thomas was admitted to the hospital for elective surgery and during presurgical testing, her urine and blood samples displayed elevated levels of hCG, which is a potential indicator of pregnancy. An ultrasound failed to definitively show the pregnancy even though it was consistent with a pregnancy of fewer than four weeks. The surgeon told Thomas not to worry about the test results and that she was not pregnant. Thereafter, Thomas proceeded with the surgery under general anesthesia.