Provencio v. WenrichAnnotate this Case
On December 12, 2002, Defendant Dr. Steven Wenrich delivered Plaintiff Cynthia Provencio's fourth child via caesarean section. Prior to surgery, Mrs. Provencio consented to Defendant contemporaneously performing a tubal ligation procedure on her sole fallopian tube because she did not wish to have additional children. After completing the surgeries, Defendant sent a portion of what he believed was ligated fallopian tube to a laboratory for analysis. The resulting pathology report revealed that the tissue Defendant had ligated was ligament, not fallopian tube, and Plaintiff still could conceive children. Since the Supreme Court issued "Lovelace Medical Center v. Mendez," (111 N.M. 336 (1991)) more than 20 years ago, the Court has not had an opportunity to clarify whether a doctor who negligently performs a tubal ligation procedure, but who then informs the patient of her continued fertility, may be sued for the future costs of raising a subsequently conceived child to the age of majority. Upon review, the Court held that those particular damages are only available when a doctor has breached a duty to inform. In this case, the Court of Appeals held otherwise, concluding that notice of continued fertility, or lack thereof, was merely a factor for the jury to consider as questions of causation and comparative fault. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and affirmed the district court's dismissal of this action.