Friday, May 24, 2013

Cojucaru v. British Columbia Women's Hospital and Health Centre - The SCC Decides

I have written previously about the case of Monica Cojucaru - a Romanian mother who endured an attempted vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) that resulted in an emergent cesarean and permanent brain damage to her son, Eric. She sued, she won at trial (a $4 million dollar judgement) - and they appealed, in part because substantial portions of the judgement were taken from the plaintiff's submission. The appeal was allowed - and Cojucaru appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. The case was heard in November, and today, the Supreme Court issued its decision.

To the relief of many lawyers and judges, the plagiarism was found to be acceptable.

To my relief - the court confirmed that Mrs. Cojucaru had the right to informed consent, and that Dr. Yue failed to acquire informed consent from Mrs. Cojucaru to undergo a VBAC and as a result Dr. Yue was found liable to Mrs. Cojucaru and her son for the damages that resulted from his delivery. Logically, this means that Mrs. Cojucaru had the right to choose a repeat cesarean for the delivery of her son as that was the alternative treatment that could have been undertaken.

So if a woman has a right to informed consent to undergo a VBAC (implying a right to choose a repeat cesarean), does she have the right to a primary elective cesarean and does the failure to obtain consent for a vaginal delivery result in a liability should a vaginal delivery be imposed upon her?

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