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Failed sterilisation ends up in court

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/07/2016

After the birth the woman claimed she was unable to work and wanted compensation for care for her son. © Getty Images After the birth the woman claimed she was unable to work and wanted compensation for care for her son. A woman has lost a court battle for ongoing compensation after she became pregnant following a failed sterilisation.

The operation failed because clips, which should have been attached to the woman's fallopian tubes, were instead fixed to her bladder.

The woman, referred to in court documents as J, gave birth to a son in 2006, eight years after she was sterilised.

She was granted cover for her pregnancy by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), New Zealand's worker compensation scheme.

However, after the birth the woman claimed she was unable to work and wanted compensation for having to stay at home and care for her son.

A District Court judgment in 2015 ruled in her favour, saying "personal injury" was wide enough to include the broader consequences of the covered injury, such as J's obligation to care for her son.

ACC appealed the decision and it was quashed by Justice Gerald Nation in a High Court of Dunedin judgment released on Friday.

Justice Nation said for J to have a continuing entitlement, both the birth of the child and the need to look after it had to be part of the personal injury suffered by J in becoming pregnant.

To reach such a conclusion would be inconsistent with the scheme of the law.

In terms of the act, pregnancy will cease to be an injury when there are no longer any physical or mental disabilities associated with the pregnancy rendering the mother unable to engage in her pre-injury employment.

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