California

Atascadero woman says doctor mistakenly gave her an abortion pill — ending her pregnancy

The Bishop’s Peak Women’s Health Center in San Luis Obispo, which is owned by Dignity Health, is facing a lawsuit from an Atascadero woman who alleges that a doctor mistakenly prescribed her an abortion pill, resulting in the unwanted termination of her pregnancy. Photo by Joe Johnston 01-08-19
The Bishop’s Peak Women’s Health Center in San Luis Obispo, which is owned by Dignity Health, is facing a lawsuit from an Atascadero woman who alleges that a doctor mistakenly prescribed her an abortion pill, resulting in the unwanted termination of her pregnancy. Photo by Joe Johnston 01-08-19 jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

An Atascadero woman claims she miscarried her unborn fetus after a San Luis Obispo OB-GYN mistakenly prescribed her an abortion pill and local pharmacists didn’t explain the drug to her before she took it.

Lorena Anderson of Atascadero filed a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Monday alleging medical negligence and infliction of emotional distress against Dignity Health, which operates the Bishop’s Peak Women’s Health Center in San Luis Obispo, as well as a doctor at the facility, and Rite Aid Corp.

Anderson — who her attorney says was between five and seven weeks pregnant at the time — is seeking an unspecified amount of general damages against the parties, as well as medical expenses, legal fees, interest and loss of earnings and earning capacity, according to the complaint.

Lawsuits represent only one side of the story and, as of Tuesday, none of the defendants had yet been served with the complaint, Anderson’s attorney said.

A spokeswoman for Dignity Health did not immediately respond to request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

According to the lawsuit, Anderson visited the Bishop’s Peak Women’s Health Center on March 20, 2018. According to its website, the Johnson Avenue clinic provides obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health services.

The complaint states that Anderson was seen by Dr. Maria Rasul and other staff at the center, and told them she suspected she was pregnant.

After confirming she was indeed pregnant, Rasul allegedly prescribed Anderson a 200-microgram oral tablet of Cytotec, a brand name of the drug misoprostol, commonly referred to as the “abortion pill,” according to the complaint. The doctor allegedly neglected to inform Anderson of the nature and effects of misoprostol.

The prescription was then forwarded to the Rite Aid at 7025 El Camino Real in Atascadero.

However, the lawsuit states that later on the same day of Anderson’s visit, Rasul and staff at the Women’s Health Center “were made aware” they had misprescribed the abortion medication and contacted the pharmacy at the Rite Aid to cancel the prescription. But Anderson was not notified of the error, the lawsuit states.

Shortly after her visit to the OB-GYN, Anderson arrived at the Rite Aid to retrieve her prescription of misoprostol, which was allegedly provided to her.

According to the complaint, the pharmacy didn’t explain the nature of the drug to Anderson or even inquire whether she was pregnant.

The complaint states that Anderson took the single tablet as directed that same day, and, as a result, her pregnancy was terminated.

Anderson’s attorney, Garrett May, said by phone Tuesday that Anderson’s visit to Bishops Peak Women’s Health Center was her first to an OB-GYN after suspecting she was pregnant. The pregnancy was confirmed with an electrocardiogram and an ultrasound during the visit, May said.

“She was very excited to learn she was pregnant, and she was looking forward to being a mother,” May said.

The case is scheduled for its first hearing in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on May 13.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

Matt Fountain is The San Luis Obispo Tribune’s courts and investigations reporter. A San Diego native, Fountain graduated from Cal Poly’s journalism department in 2009 and cut his teeth at the San Luis Obispo New Times before joining The Tribune as a crime and breaking news reporter in 2014.
  Comments