Lawsuit Seeks Damages in Ohio Botched Abortion Case

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 11, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Lawsuit Seeks Damages in Ohio Botched Abortion Case

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 11, 2003

Akron, OH ( — Jurors this week will decide how much in damages a couple should be awarded in a medical malpractice case where an Ohio doctor mistakenly aborted a viable unborn child.

Christine and Michael Sicker say her doctor Barry Fish wrongly diagnosed the age of the unborn child and, in the course of the abortion procedure, removed the baby’s right arm and left the rest of the child in Christine’s womb.

As a result of the botched abortion, Christine gave birth to the baby weeks later.

Fish doesn’t dispute his gross negligence. What is at dispute is the award the Sickers should receive as a result.

The Sickers’ attorney hasn’t indicated the exact dollar amount the couple wishes to receive, though a claim for $3.5 million was made when the lawsuit was originally filed.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, David Best, Fish’s attorney, told jurors that "the case is not worth the millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars" the couple is seeking.

"I think Dr. Fish has shown a lot of integrity (by admitting his mistake). He is sorry about this. It is unfortunate,” Best told jurors according to the Ohio newspaper. "Even in his mind, he can’t explain what happened. It’s an anomaly.”

The couple had one son already when they visited Fish’s office in May 2001. Christine was pregnant but Fish, who had been her doctor for more than a year, performed an ultrasound and found no fetal heartbeat.

One week later, he diagnosed Christine as having a blighted ovum, which causes half of miscarriages early in pregnancy, but performed no blood tests or physical exam.

He suggested that Christine have an abortion and that he could perform the abortion.

Fish now admits that he misdiagnosed the pregnancy and that his abortion was incomplete — forcing Christine to undergo a second operation to take care of the damages.

The Sickers are Catholics and were horrified that an abortion had been performed on their child. They expected the procedure would remove a dead baby from Christine’s body that had failed to attach to the uterine wall and died in utero.

A decision on the malpractice award will be made later this week.

"Our hearts and prayers are with the parents as they grieve this tragic loss of life," Denise Mackura, director of Ohio Right to Life, told