Independent Online

Sunday, December 10, 2023

View 0 recent articles pushed to you.Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by location

Doctor ordered to pay child maintenance for 11 years after vasectomy blunder

Subsequent sperm tests confirmed their suspicions - the vasectomy had not been successful. Picture: Nick Youngson/Pix4free

Subsequent sperm tests confirmed their suspicions - the vasectomy had not been successful. Picture: Nick Youngson/Pix4free

Published May 23, 2023


Diego Naranjo, a prominent doctor from Medellin, Colombia, is facing a monumental financial responsibility after a court ordered him to provide ongoing child maintenance for the next 18 years.

The unexpected turn of events came to light when a patient, who had undergone a vasectomy, surprisingly impregnated his wife despite being assured by Dr Naranjo that the procedure was a success and additional contraception was unnecessary.

The fallout of a failed vasectomy

The couple, deeply affected by the implications of the doctor’s alleged mistake, decided to take legal action against Dr Naranjo.

Subsequent sperm tests confirmed their suspicions - the vasectomy had not been successful.

The parents filed a lawsuit, asserting that the physician’s negligence had caused significant emotional and financial distress.

The court, recognising the gravity of the situation, ruled in favour of the parents, holding the doctor responsible for the child’s upbringing until they reach the age of 18.

“As a result of this unexpected conclusion, the patient was not recommended to continue using contraceptive methods to avoid the risk of pregnancy,” read the recent court ruling.

“When it was proven that the parents did not want to procreate more children, it was concluded that there was an impact on their life projects that had repercussions in the immaterial field, especially considering the precarious economic situation of the father, who currently cannot work due to their health problems.”

A debilitating condition amplifies the consequences

The baby’s father, burdened by severe bilateral hearing loss, is unable to secure employment due to frequent bouts of dizziness and vomiting.

He relies on a hearing aid to mitigate the effects of his condition. Given his inability to work, the court deemed it fitting to hold the doctor responsible for the financial support of the child.

According to the recent court ruling, Dr Naranjo has been ordered to pay the patient’s family a substantial sum.

This includes 80 times the current minimum wages, amounting to 92 million pesos (about R390 000), as moral damages. Additionally, he must cover 60 million pesos in legal fees and provide 143 million pesos as child support.

Unravelling the delayed legal action

Curiously, the ill-fated vasectomy was performed back in 2012, and the couple’s daughter was born the following year, making her presently 10 years old.

It remains unclear why the parents waited so long before pursuing legal action against the doctor, given the significant impact on their lives and finances.

Despite the limited time remaining for financial support, the court’s decision places an immense burden on Dr Naranjo, who must now contend with the consequences of his alleged negligence.

The case serves as a stark reminder of the profound impact that medical mistakes can have on individuals and families, reverberating for years to come.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.