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Delay in diagnosing ectopic pregnancy

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 13:44 -- cbis
Birth Injury Lawyer, Oliver Thorne

Medical negligence and birth injury lawyer, Oliver Thorne, reports on a case he has successfully concluded relating to the delay in diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy.

We were consulted by a woman who had experienced an ectopic pregnancy in July 2014. She had subsequently undergone a left sided salpingectomy (a medical term for the surgical removal of a fallopian tube) at Yeovil District Hospital in Somerset.

In August 2015, following a positive pregnancy test, our client was referred by her GP to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre (EPAC) at Yeovil District Hospital. Her GP was concerned that she was having another ectopic pregnancy as her symptoms were similar to those she had at the time of her previous pregnancy. She attended the EPAC at Yeovil District Hospital where a USS (ultrasound scan) was performed. Unfortunately the scan was inconclusive. A pregnancy test was then carried out which showed a faint line and the nurse suggested she was having a miscarriage. Our client was asked to return the next week.

When she returned the following week another pregnancy test was performed which again was positive. Bloods were taken which revealed an HCG (a hormone present in pregnancy) of 9,999. Another USS was carried out which again showed there was no evidence of pregnancy. The woman was advised to return to have her HCG re-taken 2 days later. When she returned, her HCG was recorded as 13,300. She was therefore taken to theatre for removal of an ectopic pregnancy.

Due to excessive bleeding a right side salpingectomy had to be performed.

It was the woman’s case that had bloods been taken at her initial appointment at the EPAC and her HCG result obtained then, it would, on balance, have confirmed she was pregnant at a much earlier stage. This would have allowed the doctors to administer methotrexate thereby avoiding the need for surgery and preserving the right fallopian tube for future pregnancies.

We agreed to pursue a medical negligence case on the basis that there had been a delay in diagnosing the ectopic pregnancy. We acted under a no win, no fee agreement and offered to fully fund any expenses associated with the case.

We submitted a detailed Letter of Claim to the NHS Trust in accordance with the protocol for clinical negligence claims. As is common in these claims the Trust conducted its own investigations into the circumstances of the case and the allegations of negligence that had been made. This resulted in the Trust making a full and open admission of liability. When liability is admitted it allows the lawyers to then focus on legal issues relating to the value of the claim and the appropriate sum of compensation the injuries merit.

We then entered into ‘without prejudice’ negotiations with the Trust. This resulted in an out of court agreement being reached for settlement of our client’s claim, which included provision for payment of her legal costs in addition to an award of compensation.

If you have suffered an ectopic pregnancy or have undergone a salpingectomy in circumstances where you feel your medical treatment was negligent or sub-standard then you can call our free legal helpline on 0800 037 8020 or if you prefer you can send us brief details of your case by email and we will get straight back to you.