Thursday, August 13, 2009
Woman Settles Case Over Removed IUD
By Rozanna M. Martinez
Copyright © 2009 Albuquerque Journal
An Albuquerque woman who sued a Rio Rancho medical center after claiming a contraceptive device had been removed without her consent has settled her case.
Ashley Van Patten settled for $20,000. As part of the settlement, nurse practitioner Sylvia M. Olona's name and her alleged opposition to abortion was omitted from the complaint.
Van Patten visited the health center in January 2007 to have her IUD adjusted, according to the complaint. An IUD is a contraceptive device placed in the uterus.
During the procedure, Van Patten felt a tugging and a sharp pain in her uterus.
“Uh-oh, I accidently pulled out your IUD,” Olona told Van Patten, according to the complaint. “It must not have been in properly.”
Van Patten filed the federal complaint for civil battery, violation of Constitutional rights and negligence against Olona, Presbyterian Medical Services of Santa Fe and its Rio Rancho Family Health Center.
The complaint was amended twice. The latest complaint only lists the Unites States as the defendant.
The matter was dismissed with prejudice late last month and cannot be refiled.
Presbyterian Medical Services is a New Mexico based nonprofit corporation that receives federal funding to operate health clinics. It operates clinics throughout the state and has no affiliation with Presbyterian Healthcare Services.
The health center had a duty to exercise care ordinarily used by health care providers in regards to birth control methods as well as reasonable care and treatment of Van Patten, according to the most recent version of the complaint.
“I think it was a good settlement and appropriate for the nature of the case,” Van Patten's attorney Ryan J. Villa said in an interview.
He said his client also is “happy” with the settlement.
According to a complaint amended in January:
Olona told Van Patten that the IUD coming out was a “good thing.”
“I personally do not like IUDs,” Olona told Van Patten. “I feel they are a type of abortion. I don't know how you feel about abortion, but I'm against them. What the IUD does is take the fertilized egg and pushes it out of the uterus.”
Olona continued: “Everyone at the office always laughs and tells me I pull these out on purpose, because I am against them, but it's not true, they accidently come out when I tug.”
Olona told Van Patten that she could now use a “nonabortion” form of contraception and suggested the Depo Provera shot or birth control pill. Olona made it clear that she would not insert a new IUD.
Before the visit, Van Patten had worn the IUD for about eight months and had not experienced problems with it.
Another IUD was inserted by a different health care worker in February 2007.