Hospital to pay 80,000 CZK for unsuccessful abortion

Lenka Smyčková
4. 3. 2008 12:00
Mother sues hospital for giving birth after abortion

Brno - Mother of a healthy seven-year-old daughter gets 80, 000 CZK as compensation for an unsuccessful abortion. That is how the Regional Court in Brno decided.

The compensation should be paid by the hospital in Jihlava that performed the abortion in 2000 after which the woman gave birth to her daughter. 

Judge Michal Ryška who decided about the amount of compensation based his decision on the fact that every woman in the Czech Republic has a right to decide about her pregnancy until the end of the first trimester.

Ryška was also convinced that the accusation was not against accepted social rules - there is no unified approach towards abortions in the Czech Republic.

This woman simply wanted to have an abortion performed and that failed, so the judge decided she deserved being compensated. 

Much less than expected

The mother however did not receive the full amount of 400,000 CZK she requested. "The full amount would be ridiculous compared to 240,000 CZK compensation those parents get whose beloved child dies at a car accident for example," says Judge Ryška. 

The woman whose name Aktuálně.cz decided to keep confidential sued the hospital already in 2001. The original judge Milan Páleníček was removed from the case after several years of no activity.

Allegedly, Páleníček even tried to make the woman withdraw her charges due to the possible impacts on her daughter. 

"Her fault"

The hospital's lawyer Petr Navrátil said after the hearing the Jihlava hospital may consider an appeal against the decision.

"We will make our decision public after we consult with the management of the hospital," Navrátil said.

At the law court Navrátil claimed that the mother had caused all of the problems herself.

"The doctors could have found out earlier that the abortion failed if the woman had come for a planned check up," he said. The mother later confirmed that.

The other side may also appeal against the decision. "It was a satisfaction for us that the court acknowledged that the hospital made a mistake, but I am disappointed that my client will only be paid a low amount. I have to consult her," Alena Ostřejšová, the mother's lawyer said.

The mother herself was happy about the decision. "I am glad it is over. I have to say again though that if I knew back then that an abortion does not end the pregnancy in 100 percent of the cases I would have been more hesitant to have the procedure done,"she said. 


Woman sues hospital for giving birth after abortion

At the court

The mother is convinced that the abortion hurt herself as well as the daughter. The server Aktuálně.cz was the first one to inform on this case, its reporters made an interview with the woman but decided to keep her identity secret.

Mother's lawyer also asked the court to keep the proceedings closed to preserve the child's privacy. Mr. Ryška however denied. "The mother must have known going into this that the public would be interested in her case," he said. Bud he appreciated the way Aktuálně.cz handled the sensitive case.

The woman did finally appear at the court but rejected a thorough psychological examinations of her daughter to provide more evidence, which her lawyer suggested.

"Would you really subject your daughter to such a stress risk?" the judge asked the mother. "I would not," she replied.

When asked by Aktuálně.cz if her daughter was healthy she replied: "Well, it depends. It definitely had a negative impact on her. I see that she cries more than other children," she said.

Break through

The verdict itself is a breakthrough in the Czech legal system, it is also the first case ever that a Czech woman sued a hospital for compensation for a failed abortion. 

Judge Ryška however pointed out that there have been similar cases in the other countries of Central Europe. 

The mother lives together with her new husband and two younger children.


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Zdroj: ČTK
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