Woman awarded settlement after hospital performs abortion against her will

.- A National Health Service (NHS) hospital trust has agreed to pay a woman £27,500 in an out-of-court settlement for aborting her unborn baby against her will and ignoring her attempts to withdraw her consent, reported The Guardian.

According to a July 30 report, Teresa Cooper, 40, was worried that an E coli infection and antibiotic treatment she had a few weeks into her pregnancy might have harmed the baby.

Unable to get answers, the mother of three reluctantly signed the consent form for an abortion at Princess Alexandra hospital in Harlow, Essex, in November 2003. But in the two days between signing the form and the abortion, she watched an anti-abortion video, which reinforced her doubts.

The Guardian reported that she went to the hospital on the day the abortion was scheduled for, saying she was only having the abortion for medical reasons and questioning whether the procedure would be traumatic for the fetus. She still got no answers but was taken to the operating room upset and tearful, according to her medical notes.

In papers filed with the court, the hospital trust admitted that staff failed to counsel Cooper about her pregnancy and refer her to someone who could counsel her appropriately, and went ahead with the abortion without getting confirmation that she consented. The trust conceded that the surgeon had not seen her before the operation, despite her obvious concern.

Her lawyer, David Kerry, from Essex law firm Attwater & Liell, said Cooper wanted answers to her concerns about her health and that of her baby, but “it was as if she was on a conveyor belt, which was impossible to stop.”

“Despite her obvious distress she was not respected as an individual with the tragic result that she lost her baby totally unnecessarily," he was quoted as saying.

A trust spokesman apologized to Cooper for “shortcomings in the care” she received. “Extra training has been provided and the patient pathway for the treatment improved to ensure the same thing could not happen again,” he added.

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