HEALTH

Woman who got pregnant after she was given flu shot instead of birth control sues clinic

Yesenia Pacheco loves her 3-year-old daughter Sandra, but she wasn’t planning on having a child. In fact, she was actively trying not to have a child.

That is why Pacheco has filed a civil lawsuit in a U.S. District Court against the U.S. government, claiming that a federally-funded health clinic in Seattle accidentally gave her a flu shot instead of a birth control injection.

Pacheco claims that in September 2011 she scheduled an appointment to receive a Depo-Provera shot, a birth control method 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, at NeighborCare Health. Then, when she returned for the follow-up injection three months later, staff at the community center informed her of the screw-up. A pregnancy test taken at the clinic revealed that Pacheco was pregnant.

"I asked what happened,” the Spanish-speaking Pacheco told Seattle’s KIRO news station. “They said you are 2 1/2 months pregnant. You don't have to have it. You won't have to pay anything."

Pacheco decided not to have an abortion because of personal beliefs and, after a tough pregnancy, Sandra was born in 2012 with a brain malformation affecting motor and speech called unilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria – a medical issue that forces Sandra to take pills twice a day to avoid seizures.

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Her attorneys, Steve Alvarez and Mike Maxwell, argue that the clinic's mess-up should legally be considered the reason that Sandra was born into a "wrongful life”…“as a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s negligent acts and/or omissions to perform the medical care with due care.”

"She loves the child, but she was put in a position she did not want to be in," Maxwell said.

Pacheco is suing for an unspecified amount to recoup medical bills and pain and suffering.

"It's hard. I already have two girls. I didn't want anymore," she said.

NeighborCare Health’s Mark Secord told local media that they "are aware of the situation" involving Pacheco and "feel great empathy for her."

Pacheco is still waiting for a determination on the lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice.

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