Prague hospital performs abortion on wrong woman


A hospital in Prague apologizes after medics performed an unsolicited abortion on a patient after staff mistook her for another woman.

Staff got mixed up with the two patients and performed the abortion on the wrong patient.

One of the women came to the hospital for a routine examination during her pregnancy, while the other woman reported for a uterine scraping, which is also a method of terminating a pregnancy.

Both are Asian women with permanent residency in the Czech Republic, according to local media.

“Unfortunately, it was a human error,” Jan Kvacek, head of Bulovka Hospital in Prague, told reporters on Thursday.

According to Kvacek, a language misunderstanding between the woman and hospital staff may have led to the incident.

Michal Zikan, head of the hospital’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, explained that the patient had signed a document in Czech which, however, belonged to the other patient.

“Three days earlier, the patient was explained in great detail, in the presence of an interpreter, what procedure she would undergo and that it was just an examination,” Zikan told journalists.

Zikan says surgeons therefore “had no reason to believe that they were dealing with another patient”.

One employee was nevertheless suspended after the incident, while another must work under expert supervision from now on.

Kvacek said the hospital was “deeply sorry” for the “tragic” confusion. The institution currently offers psychological and legal assistance to the patient on whom the abortion was performed.

“She is undoubtedly entitled to compensation.”

The incident recalls that of Thi-Nho Vo, a French woman of Vietnamese origin, who lost her baby in 1991 due to a similar confusion.

At the time, Thi-Nho filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights and claimed that the hospital had committed murder. However, the court ruled in 2003 that the involuntary abortion of a fetus does not amount to manslaughter. This case would finally set a precedent on the legal status of unborn babies.