A court ruling which ordered a gynecologist to pay child support for up to 18 years as compensation for botching a contraceptive implant was condemned by the German media as scandalous on Wednesday.
The Karlsruhe-based federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the doctor must pay his former patient, now a mother of a 3-year-old boy, 600 euros ($769) a month because she became pregnant after he implanted her with a contraceptive device. "A child as a case for damages — this perverse idea has now been confirmed by one of Germany's highest courts," conservative Die Welt daily newspaper wrote in an editorial on Wednesday.
The device is meant to protect against pregnancy for up to three years, but half a year after the operation, the implant could no longer be found in the woman's body, the court said.
While it should be welcomed that a doctor can now be held to account in the same way as a shoddy plumber, the newspaper said, how could a child whose parents had sought damages for its birth ever come to terms with the situation?
"In addition to the highly private inkling that he was not wanted by his parents, he now has official confirmation that he was born by mistake," Die Welt also said.
The award covers the first years of the child's life and also subsequent costs to the age of 18.
The parents, who had known each other six months at the time of the conception, were no longer together, the court said, ruling that the father should also be compensated for the maintenance he was paying towards the child.
The ruling could spark a flood of similar claims against gynecologists, Stern magazine wrote on its Web site.