Local opera singer claims career damaged by botched child birth

Amy Viox-Herbst, courtesy of Nashville Opera
Amy Viox-Herbst, courtesy of Nashville Opera

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19/AP) - A Nashville Opera Company singer from the Cincinnati area is suing the federal government over a childbirth operation at a military post, which she says caused problems that threaten her career.

Amy Herbst and her husband, former Army Staff Sgt. James Herbst, both of Wyoming, say a nurse-midwife at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Fort Campbell, Ky., caused her injuries during the birth of her son in February 2012 when the nurse performed an episiotomy.

The couple claims a nurse made the incision without consent. During a follow-up, another nurse told Herbst attempts to repair the incision failed.

Herbst alleges she is now unable to work as a professional opera singer because of "incontinence and excessive flatulence."

Amy Herbst visited Vanderbilt University Medical Center in June 2012 where health care providers told her that once reconstructive surgery was performed, future pregnancies would require delivery by Caesarean section. Herbst said she was concerned about the risk to her singing career that Caesarean section posed.

The lawsuit said "health care providers 'encouraged her to consider potentially delaying the procedure until she (had) completed all of her reproduction.'" Herbst has delayed the operation.

The couple filed the suit Jan. 16 in Cincinnati. They are seeking $2.5 million.

In a statement sent to FOX19, hospital spokeswoman Laura Boyd said "the Army has not had a chance to review the complaint and it would be inappropriate to comment on pending litigation. The Blanchfield Army Community Hospital staff always strives to provide high quality, safe and accessible health care that fully complies with all applicable standards of care."

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