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Woman Sues Inglewood Hospital, Charges That Sterilization Failed

February 07, 1988|JAMES RAINEY | Times Staff Writer

Inglewood Women's Hospital, criticized by state and county health officials for its "battlefield conditions," has been sued by a 33-year-old mother of three who claims that she became pregnant and had to have an abortion after an unsuccessful sterilization operation.

Debra Weaver of Compton is demanding unspecified damages from the hospital and Dr. Stephen Pine in the lawsuit filed last week in Torrance Superior Court.

Weaver went to see Pine after deciding 1 1/2 years ago that she did not want to have more children, according to her lawyer John E. Sweeney. On Aug. 22, 1986, the lawsuit says, Pine performed a tubal ligation sterilization on Weaver.

Became Pregnant

Weaver believed that after the operation she no longer needed to practice birth control, said Sweeney. But "the operation was so negligently performed" that Weaver became pregnant in March, 1987, and had to have an abortion two months later, the lawsuit charges.

Pine refused to comment on the lawsuit and said he has not been associated with the hospital for more than a year. Hospital officials did not return telephone calls.

Sweeney said Weaver decided to be sterilized because she was having trouble making ends meet as the single parent of three children.

Weaver has been forced to undergo counseling after the trauma of the failed operation and ensuing abortion, Sweeney said.

Health officials said in December that the Inglewood hospital is in danger of losing its license, as well as state and federal funding because of unsanitary conditions and inadequate care.

1,000 Abortions a Month

The hospital performs about 1,000 abortions a month in its single operating room, according to regulators, who said patients have sometimes been rushed into surgery before blood stains of previous patients have been cleaned away. Doctors at the hospital also failed to properly monitor patients under anesthesia and staffers did not wash their hands and equipment between operations, inspectors said.

The family of a 37-year-old Inglewood woman sued the hospital last year, claiming that the woman died after an abortion there. Belinda Bird bled to death after her uterus was perforated in an abortion performed by Pine, the lawsuit charged.

Officials from the state Department of Health Services are expected to announce soon whether action will be taken against the hospital.

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