11/15/2013 02:45 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Surgeons find woman's lost IUD 20 years later

Two former Whitehorse doctors have been ordered to pay damages to a patient for years of pain and suffering caused by a birth control device they had failed to remove in 1986.

The patient, Chrystal Tupper, was fitted with an intrauterine device for birth control in 1985. She complained of abdominal cramps and was planning to have it removed the next year when she became pregnant.

Doctors Roger Mitchell and Gerald Doersam were tasked with performing an abortion and a tubal ligation as well as removing the IUD.

Both doctors failed to find the device and both assumed, without talking to each other, the device had been expelled before or during the abortion. 

Tupper too assumed the IUD was gone, as nobody told her otherwise. For the next 20 years, the abdominal cramps and chronic pelvic pain continued. 

It wasn't until 2006 that Tupper's doctors discovered the copper device had moved to an unusual location. They removed it surgically.

In his ruling, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Gerard Hawco blamed Mitchell and Doersam for not ensuring the device was gone.

He awarded Tupper $60,000 plus special costs for the pain and suffering she endured because of their negligence.